Lancaster University acquires John Ruskin archive

  • 20 March 2019

Lancaster University has announced the landmark acquisition of an archive belonging to 19th-century visionary John Ruskin, with support from Art Fund.

Items from the Whitehouse Ruskin Collections, l-r: John Ruskin, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1859 and Venice – Byzantine Capitals, Concave Group

Items from the Whitehouse Ruskin Collections, l-r: John Ruskin, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1859 and Venice – Byzantine Capitals, Concave Group

Lancaster University and the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) have announced the significant acquisition of the Whitehouse Ruskin Collections, an extensive archive of materials belonging to pioneering Victorian writer and artist John Ruskin.

Believed to be one of the largest compilations of a single author’s works in the world, the Whitehouse Ruskin Collections were brought together by Liberal MP John Howard Whitehouse. The collections contain thousands of paintings, drawings, books, manuscripts and photographs belonging to Ruskin, which give an insight into his life and work as well as that of fellow influential Victorian figures including Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, William Henry Millais and WH Hunt.

Highlights from the collection include 29 volumes of Ruskin’s diaries, 7,400 letters detailing correspondence between Ruskin and figures such as JMW Turner and Charles Darwin, 350 books from Ruskin’s own library, 1,500 drawings and 500 prints including works by Ruskin’s contemporaries Burne-Jones, WG Collingwood and Samuel Prout, 125 daguerreotypes and 140 photographs.

The Collections will continue to be housed in the Ruskin Library at Lancaster University and on loan to Brantwood, Ruskin’s home at Coniston.

The archive will form part of a new museum at the library: The Ruskin – Library, Museum and Research Centre. The museum will explore how Ruskin’s ideas and work can apply to the pressing cultural, social and environment issues of the 21st century and beyond.

The Ruskin will launch with an ambitious programme of events starting in Lancaster on 25 September 2019, and a launch exhibition, Ruskin – Museum of the Near Future.

Tags: Art we've helped buy