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Women Artists in Ruskin's Circle

17 April - 3rd October 1999

As an art critic, Ruskin held a position of great influence in the 1850s, when he came to the defence of the young artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He was still a considerable figure of respect in his capacity as Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University from 1871 to 1878.

In his various roles as teacher, educationalist and patron, Ruskin maintained a particular influence within the ranks of amateur and aspiring professional artists of the period, especially women, to whom the traditional path of training and exhibition at the Royal Academy and other major institutions was usually difficult or impossible.

Ruskin brought art education within reach of many with his 'Elements of Drawing' (1857). People of all class, age and ability wrote to him for advice. His replies to their letters were the 19th century equivalent of distance learning, detailed instructions on all aspects of art in each individual letter over a period of weeks and even years. Many of these correspondents he never met, but several like Kate Greenway and Louise Blandy became close friends.

This exhibition contains an exciting combination of work and correspondence by Ruskin and both amateur and professional women artists in his circle. The display includes the work of Kate Greenway and Emily Warren, the copyist Isabella Jay, and many examples of work by other friends, family and acquaintances.



Catalogues are available for many of our exhibitions - see our Publications List for details.

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