Lancaster University

Ruskin Library


Ruskin Library News


Library Building
Reading Room
Visiting the Library


Online Store

Reference Materials

Library Catalogue
Manuscript List

Works of John Ruskin
(Library Edition)

Modern Painters (Electronic Edition)

Ruskin's Venetian Notebooks
1849-1850 (Electronic Edition)

Lancaster University Library

Audio and Slideshow Presentations


Current Exhibition
Future Exhibitions
Previous Exhibitions


Educational visits to the Library
Ruskin for All



Related Organisations

Ruskin Centre (Lancaster University)
Ruskin for All

Lancaster University

Ruskin Library Exterior

Ruskin Library
Lancaster University

Tel: +44 (0) 1524 593587


Opening times:
Monday-Friday 10am-4pm
during Exhibitions
(closed weekends and Bank Holidays)

Reading Room:
Monday-Friday 10am-4pm
(by appointment only)



The main holding of the Ruskin Library is the Whitehouse Collection of material relating to John Ruskin (1819-1900) and his circle. This was formed by John Howard Whitehouse (1873-1955, pictured in 1903), educationalist and Liberal Member of Parliament, who had been Secretary of the Ruskin Society of Birmingham.


John Howard Whitehouse pictured in 1903

John Howard Whitehouse in 1903


A late photograph of John Howard Whitehouse

A late photograph of John Howard Whitehouse

In 1919 he founded Bembridge School on the Isle of Wight. He built the Ruskin Galleries there in 1929 to house his growing collection of books, manuscripts, prints and drawings. He later bought Brantwood, Ruskin's last home on the eastern shore of Coniston Water. The galleries at Bembridge closed at the end of 1996, and the Collection, which belongs to Education Trust Ltd, is now the responsibility of the Ruskin Foundation, based at Lancaster University. It is administered through the Ruskin Library Board of the University. The Foundation also manages Brantwood, where more of the Whitehouse Collection is on display.

Manuscripts and Letters

Papers housed in the Library offer an immense store of research material. Among the 196 manuscripts in the Library are 29 volumes of Ruskin's Diaries, covering the years 1835 to 1888; only a selected edition of these has been published. There are some 7,400 letters (mostly unpublished), including a correspondence with his cousin Joan Severn of over 3,000 letters, and others to and from family and such associates as Thomas Carlyle, Robert Browning and his publisher George Allen.

Books and manuscripts from the collection


In addition to some 350 books from Ruskin's Library, the great strength of the book collection is a unique assemblage of all Ruskin's published writings (which run to a collected edition of 39 volumes) in successive editions, including foreign language versions of some of the more important texts such as Modern Painters, Stones of Venice and Unto this Last. A complete holding of books about Ruskin, from contemporary criticism to modern academic studies (which are added to by the Foundation), is complemented by an archive of transcripts, articles and newspaper cuttings. Every aspect of his wide-ranging interests is represented, from religion and the arts to political economy, geology and the environment.

The Catalogue Room gives access to the Library's electronic catalogue, a list of manuscripts in the collection and the CD-Rom version of the Library Edition of Ruskin's Works. There is also a microfilm reader and printer, for use with materials on both microfiche and film.


In the public galleries are displayed a selection from the 1,500 drawings and 500 prints in the collection, of which 950 are by Ruskin, and others by his friends and associates, including Samuel Prout, Francesca Alexander and Albert Goodwin. These reflect Ruskin's predominant interest in landscape and architecture, but there are also many nature studies, copies of Old Master paintings, and intimate portraits. As well a large number of photographs that contain 140 from Ruskin's collection, there is an important group of 125 daguerreotypes, mostly of Gothic architecture, made under his direction.

Pictures from the Ruskin Collection


Top of page

Ruskin Library Web Pages created and maintained by Jen Shepherd

All images and text (c)The Ruskin Library, unless otherwise stated.

(c) 2006-