Rawdon Lubbock Brown (1806-1883). Brown lived in Venice from 1833 until his death in 1883. He was an expert on the history of Venice and the Venetian archives particularly St Mark’s Library and the Correr Museum (see Griffiths and Law (2005)).
Rawdon Brown’s contribution to Ruskin’s work in Venice is summarised in John E. Law ‘‘Grubbing in the Archives’: Rawdon Brown and Venetian Sources’ in Griffiths and Law (2005) p.130f:
For his part Ruskin was uncomfortable in the Italian language, and with contemporary Italy in general. For Ruskin, Brown was a key to Venice, or the ‘king’ of the city as he once put it; he also enjoyed the hospitality offered by Brown and his household, and in particular the company and assistance of Toni - Antonio Valmarana - Brown’s gondolier and factotum. Through Brown Ruskin could obtain photographs and reading materials. He could also gain command of Venetian sources and his knowledge of those who studied them. Thus Brown acted as Ruskin’s go-between with Giovanni Battista Lorenzi....Lorenzi had risen to the position of deputy director of the Marciana when Brown enlisted him to compile, at Ruskin’s expense, a collection of documents on the Ducal Palace.
See Works, 36.378 [n/a], and Works, 36.349 [n/a] for Giambattista Lorenzi's book, Monumenti per servire alla storia del Palazzo Ducale dal 1253 al 1600 (Venice: Visentini, 1868), dedicated to Ruskin.
The size, more than 300 rooms, and complexity of the Archivio in Venice is something which Cadorin (1838) stressed and illustrated. Shayne Mitchell ‘‘Swimming in a Godola’: The Rawdon Brown Archive in the National Archives at Kew’ in Griffiths and Law (2005) p.111 draws attention to the lack of a catalogue for the archives. There is no evidence in the notebooks that Ruskin himself worked in the archives, and it seems unlikely that he could have found, in the time available, the resources and evidence he needed.
Moreover the lay-out of his quotations at Notebook M2 p.61 and Notebook M2 p.62 from Chronicles ‘from the Correr Museum’ suggests someone copying from passages collected and prepared for him in advance, presumably by Rawdon Brown and Lorenzi.
There are references, which are presumably to Rawdon Brown, at Notebook M p.ii, 124L and 124, 197L; Notebook M2 p.4L, 35, 72, 105L.
There are references to Lorenzi at Notebook M2 p.45, 48, 55.
There are references to ‘Valet’, perhaps Antonio Valmarana, Rawdon Brown’s valet and companion over many years, at Notebook M p.112 and House Book 1 p.12L, and in a similar context to ‘the Gondolier’ at House Book 1 p.10.
Two letters of this period from Ruskin to Rawdon Brown in the Cavendish-Bentinck collection (BL Add. 36304), in addition to the one transcribed at Works, 36.106f [n/a], illustrate something of the relationship between Ruskin and Rawdon Brown and his circle, one apparently from December 23rd 1849 and related to Notebook M p.102, the other after Ruskin’s return to England.
[Version 0.05: May 2008]