London 1819 - Brantwood 1900


John Ruskin drew constantly, and although he received some training from artists such as Copley Fielding and James Duffield Harding, his talents as a draughtsman were to a large extent the result of natural gifts. As the young Ruskin noted in a letter of his mother of 1845, ‘Architecture I can draw like an architect, and trees a good deal better than most botanists, and mountains rather better than most geologists.’

For the most part, Ruskin’s drawings were not intended for exhibition, but rather as a complement to his written work. As Paul Walton has noted, Ruskin’s voluminous writings, in the form of books, diaries, essays, articles and letters, are enriched by the study of his ‘watercolours and sketches of the mountains and skies, cottages and cathedrals, stones and flowers in which he found inscribed the messages that guided his life’s work as an interpreter of nature and art.’