The Ruskin Library

The Ruskin Library is a library of the University of Lancaster[1] which houses the Whitehouse Collection of material relating to the English poet, author and artist John Ruskin and his circle.[2][3] This collection was formed by John Howard Whitehouse, Liberal Member of Parliament.

Designed by Sir Richard MacCormac of MacCormac Jamieson Prichard,[4] it was opened in 1998 by Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy. It subsequently won the Independent on Sunday Building of the Year Award 1996, the Royal Fine Art Commission/BSkyB Building of the Year University Winner 1998, and Millennium Products status awarded by the Design Council in 1999.[5]

The library is open to the public, although only a small part of the collection is on public display at any one time.


The library contains 29 volumes of Ruskin's Diaries spanning the years 1835 to 1888. Many of these are unpublished. The library also contains approximately 7,400 letters, including 3,000 letters with his cousin Joan Severn and others such as Thomas Carlyle, Robert Browning and his publisher George Allen.

There are approximately 350 books from Ruskin's own personal library as well as 39 volumes of his published writings in various languages.[6]

There is a selection of 1,500 drawings and 500 prints in the collection of which 950 are by Ruskin. Other artists include Samuel Prout, Francesca Alexander and Albert Goodwin. These prints are examples of Ruskin's interest in landscape and architecture, but there are also many nature studies, copies of Old Master paintings, and intimate portraits. There is a large number of photographs that contain 140 from Ruskin's collection with an important group of 125 daguerreotypes, mostly of Gothic architecture, made under his direction.[6][7]


  1. ^ "Actor Greg Wise visits Lancaster University Ruskin role" BBC. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  2. ^ "New Brantwood exhibition 'measures' Ruskin's love of Venice" Westmoreland Gazette. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  3. ^ "Turner painting known as Ruskin's View sold for £217,250" BBC. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  4. ^ "Richard MacCormac, former Riba president, 1938-2014" Financial Times. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  5. ^ "Sir Richard MacCormac". Debretts. Retrieved 19 February 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b "Ruskin Library Collections". Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  7. ^ Roddy, Michael (19 March 2015). "'Lost' Ruskin Venice photos offer insight into famous critic". Reuters. Retrieved 13 January 2019.

Further readingEdit

  • Dearden, James S. (1973) "The Haddon C. Adams Collection at Bembridge"; in: Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library; vol. 55, pp. 300-23
  • Dearden, James S. (1969) "The Rusin Collection at Bembridge, Isle of Wight"; in: Bulletin of the John Rylands Library; vol. 51, pp. 310-47

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 54°00′36″N 2°47′17″W / 54.0100°N 2.7880°W / 54.0100; -2.7880