Ruskin's Botanical Drawings

John Ruskin, The shape of trees as depicted by various artists, c 1855-56, RF1561 © Ruskin Foundation

John Ruskin, The shape of trees as depicted by various artists, c 1855-56, RF1561v © Ruskin Foundation

Ruskin John (1819-1900)

The shape of trees as depicted by various artists, ( The Aspen, under Idealization) c 1855-56
Six subjects numbered and titled in ink 24.5 x 15.2 cm
Pencil and ink

Inscribed in ink, top: Study for Vol 4 M. P. 1856. J. R.
Inscribed in ink, bottom: Of course you needn't mind the / lettering, merely leave a little more room for it / at bottom

RF 1561

 

 

Engraved by J. Cousen as Plate 27 of volume IV of Modern Painters (1856), entitled The Aspen, under Idealization. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it is intended to show the superiority of Turner's tree-drawing (bottom left), even beyond that of Ruskin's friend J.D. Harding, "quite inimitable in the quantity of life and truth obtained by about a quarter of a minute's work; but beginning to show the faulty vagueness and carelessness of modernism." (6.100-101)

The tree in question is, of course, the graceful Populus tremula (Willow family - Salicaceae). See also 'Aspen Tree' (RF 1125).

This entry was researched and written by Professor David Ingram.