Ruskin's Botanical Drawings

Cyclamen, RF1487v © Ruskin Foundation

Cyclamen, RF1487 © Ruskin Foundation

Ruskin, John (1819-1900)

4 1/10 X 5 1/2 in.
Pencil and black ink

Inscribed in black ink: Cyclamen / cut serrated out of back / comp. Sowerby 8. Plate / 1250 / Edging leaves / – Retorted action

Verso: Flower Study, in black ink: inscribed: The petals of / All the petals blossoms throw their own left sides, as / they grow back, and put the right side / forward / This must not be / reversed - it must / be reversed on the block

RF 1487


These two drawings show a leaf and flower of a cultivated Cyclamen species (Primrose family – Primulaceae), possibly the tender, ‘florist’s cyclamen’, Cyclamen persicum, that has its origins in the eastern Mediterranean, Rhodes, Crete and Libya. The written instruction beneath the flower seems to be to a wood-block engraver. The written reference beside the leaf is to a Plate in English Botany, illustrated by James Sowerby and issued as 36 volumes between 1790 and 1813.

This entry was researched and written by Professor David Ingram.