Ruskin To-Day is an informal organisation that exists to celebrate the life and ideas of the artist, critic and social reformer John Ruskin (1819-1900). It brings together the activities of the many different societies, academic institutions and individuals who share an interest in Ruskin and in the many different aspects of his work. This website serves as a noticeboard to draw attention to the many Ruskinian events that place across the world.
Since most activities are currently suspended, so is the calendar. However, we are beginning to get news of possible openings, and will be glad to publicise them once they become definite. Please take a look at the links to the many organisations that make up the Ruskin community.
Brantwood has a new acquisition!
Thanks to the generosity of the Whitehouse Trust, and the perspicacity of Dr Nicholas Shrimpton, who spotted the picture, Brantwood has acquired this portrait of John James Ruskin’s sister (and Ruskin’s aunt), Jessie Ruskin, attributed to George Watson. Nicholas Shrimpton has supplied this note:
George Watson (1767-1837) was a Scottish artist who trained with Alexander Nasmyth in Edinburgh and Sir Joshua Reynolds in London before returning to Scotland in the late 1780s to establish a successful career as a portrait painter; he would become the first President of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1826. This portrait of Janet Ruskin (attributed to him by Dr Stephen Lloyd)) appears to have been made, in or shortly after 1802, as a companion piece to his painting of her younger brother John James Ruskin (once misattributed to Henry Raeburn) which returned to Brantwood as part of the Whitehouse Collection. The two pictures would have hung together at 15 St James’s Square, Edinburgh, and probably did so in subsequent Ruskin family households. Janet was Ruskin’s ‘aunt Jessie, a very precious and perfect creature, beautiful in her dark-eyed, Highland way’: the miniature of her reproduced in the ‘My Two Aunts’ plate of Praeterita clearly derives from Watson’s portrait. She married a tanner, lived in Perth, and had five children, only one of whom, Mary, survived to adulthood. Ruskin stayed with them on several occasions as a child and, after her mother’s death in 1828, Mary would be adopted by Ruskin’s parents and brought up as his older sister. The news of Jessie’s death arrived during a holiday in Plymouth. Ruskin came in to find ‘my father, for the first time I had ever seen him, in deep distress of sobbing tears’. Perhaps more significantly, Jessie was the ‘aunt more evangelical than my mother’ whose tendency to serve cold mutton for Sunday’s dinner was the reason (we are told in the first paragraph of Praeterita) why Ruskin became a writer rather than ‘an evangelical clergyman’.
Brantwood Gardens & Estate Have Re-Opened!
Brantwood Gardens are open to visitors 10.30 – 5pm daily. Two new trails have been created through the gardens, highlighting some of the wonderful features created by Ruskin himself, Joan Severn and the dedicated team of Brantwood gardeners over the years. Signs will help guide you through the estate as will the new visitor maps created, which also point to the seating areas in the grounds – for picnics, a rest to enjoy the beautiful woodland and views…or perhaps just to meditate or read. New family activity packs, with drawing, writing and identification activities are available to help explore and understand the incredible variety of plant and animal life in the estate and learn a little about John Ruskin in the process. Videos are available to watch on the website to help provide a greater understanding of the gardens, with Director Howard Hull and Head Gardener, Bethan Pettitt. Either watch prior to your visit, whilst on foot in our estate or learn a little more once you get home, the videos cover the Lower Gardens, The Professor’s Garden, The Zig-Zaggy and the High Walk and can be found here?http://www.brantwood.org.uk/the-gardens-at-brantwood/
The Terrace coffee house is serving delicious refreshments before 12 and after 3, and between those hours is offering superb lunches, incorporating local ingredients brought to you with some ingenious energy by Head chef, Joe and the fabulous team front of house. We are now offering table service and have taken some serious adjustments to service to ensure the safety and comfort of guests dining on the Terrace. Bookings are being taken for tables at the terrace and can be made contacting the terrace direct on 015394 49025 between the hours of 10am and 5pm.
Finally, the accommodation is open again and although very well booked up for the remainder of 2020, there are a few gaps available for a stay in this lovely comfortable accommodation with fabulous views across Lake Coniston. The website booking calendar is now up to date so if you fancy a break in this idyllic location, take a look at either the Eyrie or Lodge calendar (http://www.brantwood.org.uk/the-eyrie/?or?http://www.brantwood.org.uk/the-lodge/)
The Ruskin Society of North America
Sara Atwood and Jim Spates are pleased to announce the establishment of a new Ruskin organization: the Ruskin Society of North America. This non-profit (501c3) organization will promote Ruskin’s work and ideas through the creation and implementation of educational programs, conferences and lectures, art exhibitions, and cultural outreach. Our purposes are to develop local programs and projects that adapt and apply Ruskin’s ideas about education, the environment, and the arts; to draw people together in collaboration to improve and enrich their communities; to support creative enterprises and the work of craftspeople; to promote respect for and engagement with the natural world and provide opportunities for positive and productive experiences with nature, particularly for young people. We look forward to fruitful collaboration with other Ruskin-related organizations as we work together to put Ruskin’s principles into practice.
Our website will launch soon. Inquiries about membership and other questions are welcome. Please contact Jim (SPATES@hws.edu) and Sara (email@example.com). Twitter (@RuskinSocietyNA) and Instagram (ruskinsocietyna)
We are pleased to let you know about an upcoming series of virtual talks, taking place on Saturdays throughout October: ‘Ruskin, Roycroft, and the Arts and Crafts Movement’. We are pleased to share an upcoming series of online events organised by The Roycroft Campus, The Ruskin Society of North America, and The Guild of St. George. www.roycroftcampuscorporation.com/ruskin-roycroft-conference
Please take a look at the links to the many organisations that make up the Ruskin community.