A Clearer Picture of Ruskin
4 October 2003 - 26 September 2004
This exhibition at the Ruskin Library showed newly conserved works and recent acquisitions. Made possible by a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the conservation of some four hundred drawings and watercolours by Ruskin has been taking place during 2002-03. The important collection of 125 historic early daguerreotype photographs has also been subjected to examination and conservation. Owing to the large number of items, the exhibition was changed approximately every two months throughout the next year.
Ruskin was one of the first to realise the damaging effect of light on drawings, and used baize covers to protect the Turner watercolours at Brantwood, his home at Coniston. He was less careful about his own drawings, however, not always using the best paper or mounting materials. In more than a hundred years, many of the drawings have deteriorated for a number of reasons – chiefly through decay of the acidic board to which they were attached, but also from the effects of over-exposure to light, and storage in less than ideal conditions.
Staff at work at Museum Conservation Services Ltd
This year’s exhibition programme will be given over entirely to showing the results of the campaign, including details of the fascinating process of paper conservation, and of the many discoveries made during the work. A new selection of drawings will be displayed every two months between October 2003 and September 2004. Each group will contain subjects covering the historical range of works in the collection, from careful maps drawn as a child to vigorous sketches from his last years of active life, and will illustrate Ruskin’s lifelong devotion to the study and record of landscape, architecture and the natural world.
Some of John Ruskin's many natural history drawings
The Ruskin Library was opened by HRH Princess Alexandra on 9 May 1998, and to mark this anniversary there will also be displays of acquisitions made during the last five years.
John Ruskin:The State of Snow, Mont Blanc
Catalogues are available for many of our exhibitions - see our Publications List for details.
Ruskin Library Web Pages created and maintained by Jen Shepherd
All images and text (c)The Ruskin Library, unless otherwise stated.