Herne Hill

The Ruskin family moved from Hunter Street in March 1823 to No 28 Herne Hill, a large semi-detached house, the family living there until 1842. Initially John James Ruskin rented the house from the owner, but bought the lease in 1829; a lease which was to run until 1887 (see Dearden, John Ruskin's Camberwell, pp. 7-14). It was in the house at Herne Hill that Ruskin first began his literary career and in particular his work on the first volume of Modern Painters. The Ruskin family moved to a larger house at Denmark Hill in October 1842 where Ruskin completed the writing of Modern Painters I the following year. John James retained the lease and later the house was to become the home of Ruskin's niece and her husband, Joan and Arthur Severn from 1871. They in turn renewed the lease until 1907. Ruskin continued to use the house as a London base, the Severn's allowing him to retain his old nursery room. In 1851, John James Ruskin purchased a 34-year lease on No 30 Herne Hill, the adjacent house to No 28 for his son and wife to occupy (see Dearden, Facets of Ruskin, pp.35-45). Following the collapse of his marriage, Ruskin left the house and returned to Denmark Hill in 1854.