Ruskin, John

BORN 8 Feb 1819, London - DIED 20 Jan 1900, Brandwood, Lancashire
GRAVE LOCATION Coniston, Cumbria: St. Andrew's Churchyard

Writer of extensive works on art in which he emphasized the importance of nature for spiritual health. He was among the first to recognize the qualities of Turner and defended the pre-raphaelites against the vigorous attacks by the critics. He had a huge personal fortune that he used for filantropic projects. His marriage to Effie Gray was annulled on the groud of non-consummation and she married his friend John Millais, whose work he had always praised highly. From 1858 on he loved Rose La Touche, until even after her death in 1875.

Ruskin blasted the paintings of Whistler and wrote about "Nocturne in Black and Gold: the Falling Rocket" that Whistler was 'flinging a pot of paint in the public face' and that asking 200 guineas for it was nearly wilful imposture. Whistler sued him for this and a trial surrounded by much publicity followed. Ruskin wasn't present, and Whistler won after a brilliant defense. But since he was awarded only one farthing in damages and had to pay the costs of the trial, he eventually went bankrupt.

Work: "Modern painters" (five volumes, 1860).

Related persons
• knew Boyce, George Price
• was a friend of Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
• was written about by Bunsen, Marie von
• has a connection with Burne-Jones, Edward
• knew Dyce, William
• met Grahame, Kenneth
• was a friend of Greenaway, Kate
• was pupil to Harding, James Duffield
• was patron of Hunt, Alfred William
• knew Hunt, Violet
• criticized Maclise, Daniel
• was painted by Millais, John
• wrote about Mulready, William
• was teacher to Noel, Anne Isabella, 15th Baroness Wentworth
• influenced Pater, Walter
• was admired by Proust, Marcel
• has a connection with Roberts, David
• met Severn, Joseph
• knew Smetham, James
• supported Turner, Joseph Mallord William
• had controversy with Whistler, James MacNeill

13/5/1851Ruskin praises Hunt's "Valentine and Sylvia" in The Times. Hunt's painting "Valentine and Sylvia" was exhibited at the The Royal Acadey at that time. Critics like Kingsley and Macauley attacked this work and the work of the Preraphaelites in general. The poet Coventry Patmore asked Ruskin to take action. Ruskin wrote two letters to The Times, praising the work. His only criticism was 'the commonness of feature' and 'the unfortunate type chosen for the face of Sylvia'. The model for Sylvia had been Lizzy Siddal. The painting was sold in November, 1852. [Hunt, William Holman][Siddal, Elizabeth]
24/7/1897Jean Ingelow is buried at Brompton Cemetery. John Ruskin sent a cross of roses and the soprano Antoinette Sterling sang "The Lord is my Shepherd" at the graveside. [Ingelow, Jean]

• Barilli, Renato, Die Präraffaeliten, Manfred Pawlak, Herrsching, 1988
• Greenwood, Peter, Who's buried where in England, Constable, London, 1982
• Holman-Hunt, Diana, My Grandfather, His Wives and Loves, Hamish-Hamilton, London, 1969
• Whelchel, Harriet (ed.), John Ruskin and the Victorian Eye, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1993
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909

Rüther, Leopoldine

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 07 Apr 2000