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John Ruskin (1819-1900) Victorian artist and writer

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Victorian artist, critic and writer

1819 Born 8 Feb  in Hunter Street, Brunswick Square. His father was a sherry merchants who influenced his son interest in literature. His mother was a devout Christian,
1822 Painting of Ruskin aged three by James Northcote,
1823 Moved to 28 Herne Hill. It was built in 1801 and demolished in the 1920s.

There is a memorial plaque in what is now No 26 Herne Hill.

1824 First visit to Lake District
1832 Given a copy of Samuel Rogers’s Italy, contained illustrations by Turner.
1834-5 Attended Rev Dale’s Grove Lane school
1835 Ruskin family visited Venice.
1836 Attended lectures at Kings College by Rev Dale.
Wrote his first defence of JMW Turner
1836-7 Wrote for an architectural magazine
1837 Attended Christ Church, Oxford.
1839 Ruskin family bought their first Turner (Richmond Hill).
c 1840 Met Turner,
1842 Oct: Family moved to 163 Denmark Hill. 

1843 Modern Painters published. It championed JMW Turner.

1845 Tour of Italy
1846 Modern Painters Volume II published. It championed the Pre-Raphaelites
1848 Married Euphemia “Effie” Gray/ They lived with his parents at 163 Denmark Hill,
1850 Seven Lamps of Architecture published
1851 Pre-Raphaelitism published. Met John Everett Millais.
Defended the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in a letter to the Times
Ruskin moved to No 30 Herne Hill.
1853  Stones of Venice published
1853 Visited Scotland with Effie and Millais. Painted by Millais there.

 Architecture and Painting published
Marriage annulled (Euphemia married Millais in 1855)
Ruskin moved back to 163 Denmark Hill.
Developed Socialist ideas and taught at Working Men’s College (first at Red Lion Square then at Great Ormond Street) 
1856 Modern Painters Volume III and IV published
1858 Met Rose La Touché a drawing student aged10.
1860 Modern Painters Volume V published
1864 Father died and left his fortune to Ruskin.
1866 Bought Brantwood in the Lake District from WJ Linton
Proposed to Rose La Touché (now 18) but was asked to wait three more years.
1869 Appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford until 1885
1871 Ruskin’s mother died. Rejected finally by Rose La Touché 
Ruskin sold 163 Denmark Hill (later became Ruskin Manor Hotel - and demolished in 1949.


1875 Rose La Touché died (led to mental illness?)
1878 Sued by James McNeill Whistler
1881 John Ruskin in his study at Brantwood by WH Collingwood.
Collingwood became Ruskin’s secretary

1885 Resigned as Slade Professor of Art
1889 Autobiography Praeterita (unfinished) published
After this Ruskin rarely spoke up to his death.
1899 Ruskin College established in Oxford for workers. Named after John Ruskin,
1900 20 Jan: Died at St Andrew’s church in Coniston
Buried at Coniston. Grave has a cross by WH Collingwood

Post script
1901 Ruskin Museum opened by Collingwood in Lake District 
1902 Memorial added at Poets Corner, Westminster
1907 Ruskin Park opened in Camberwell near to his family home.
1932 John Howard Whitehouse (1873–1955) bought Brantwood.
1933 John Howard Whitehouse opened Brantwood to the public

Further reading           
The Life and Work of Ruskin  - WG Collingwood  (Methuen 1893)
Homes and Haunts of John Ruskin - Edward Tyos Cook  (1912)
Facets of Ruskin - James S Dearden  (Skilton 1970)
Ruskin and Early Camberwell (South London Art Gallery)
Early Years - Tim Hilton (Yale 1985)
John Ruskin’s Camberwell - James S Dearden  (Bentham 1990)
Later Years - Tim Hilton (Yale 2000)

Camberwell History

Herne Hill History

(c) South London Guide 2023