Ruskin Museum
Coniston, Cumbria.
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To the right of the entrance to the RUSKIN GALLERY is W.G. Collingwood's magnificent portrait of Ruskin in his old age. On the wall next to it are ordered some of the main landmarks in his life; an information folder nearby contains a more detailed CHRONOLOGY.

 

 

The EARLY YEARS case, on the left as you enter the gallery, contains memorabilia including Ruskin's first bible and a brilliantly-written letter to his father when the boy was just nine years old. Check out that handwriting !

 

GEOLOGY and TURNER. Ruskin was said to draw with the eye of a geologist, and his love of minerals is reflected in the collection on display here. Cases showing impressively-lit samples surround a series of prints by Turner; there are also one or two by Ruskin in imitation of the 'master.' The theme is the interpretation of mountains.

Arranged along the back wall is a gallery of RUSKIN'S ART - both original paintings and prints - which reflect the range of his work and his ability to represent some of the wonderful complexities of detail in nature, architecture and sculpture. Among the striking individual pieces here are Ilaria's tomb in Lucca, Alpine valley, Standing Cloud over the Old Man, Sunset at Herne Hill, the Ducal Palace and an unfinished landscape in the gardens of Brantwood.

In the CENTRE of the room, the case containing Collingwood's sculpture of Ruskin, the funeral pall and devotions, is flanked by cases displaying his work in ART and ARCHITECTURE respectively. The ART section has a touchscreen interactive display; the ARCHITECTURE section has an automatic display showing all 5 of Ruskin's sketchbooks in turn.
In a small room off the main gallery is a presentation of some of Ruskin's ideas as portrayed by actor Paul O'Keefe. This is a DVD playing on a continuous loop. Themes covered are: the impact of factory work in Victorian times; notions of 'wealth'; government, and how we govern ourselves; social issues and co-operation.


 

Other displays here include some marvellous VISUAL AIDS ( including plaster-casts and spectacular giant models of bird-feathers) from Ruskin's ART TEACHING, and Brantwood and Grand Tour memorabilia.

 

 

 

 

There is a separate section devoted to W.G. COLLINGWOOD; some of his popular local art work is on show, together with his daughter's sculpture of her father and information about the whole family. Collingwood's famous painting of Ruskin in his study is to be seen near the Brantwood case.

 

 

Ruskin's harmonicon (a slate xylophone) resides near the exit, highlighting Ruskin's interest in making music. Visitors may try out this ancient instrument  for themselves !

Extra information, relating to Ruskin and relationships, 'Proserpina' and extracts from some of his very persuasive lectures on political economy and philosophy, may be found in special folders in the gallery.

Comments from the Visitor Book

"Ruskin - an ornamentor's hero !"
"Particularly enjoyed Ruskin's sketchbooks."
"An intellectual mind of enduring importance !"
"Fine watercolours & a marvellous man."