Ruskin's Botanical Drawings

John Ruskin, Portuguese Narcissus, 1878, RF1446-1 © Ruskin Foundation

John Ruskin, Botanical Study, RF1446-2 © Ruskin Foundation

Ruskin, John (1819-1900)

Portuguese Narcissus, 1878
Inscribed: Portuguese narcissus Brantwood 1878. 2. p.114 Egypt II.
4 1/2 X 3 in.

RF 1446


Of his drawing of a “Field Narcissus of the Alps,” placed in the teaching collection at Oxford, Ruskin wrote that “[t]his is the best European representative of the Amaryllis tribe; and is in the pastures of the lower Alps of Savoy what Christ's lily of the field (Amaryllis lutea) was in those of Syria.” (21.116)

This delightful watercolour is of the Hooped Petticoat Narcissus (Narcissus bulbocodium L.; Daffodil family – Amaryllidaceae). A native of the Iberian Peninsular, south west France and North West Africa, where it grows in mountain passes. The species is widely cultivated as a garden plant.

This entry was researched and written by Professor David Ingram.