Ruskin and Blackwood's

The relationship between Ruskin and Blackwood's Magazine was characterised by a persistent hostility. This periodical was significant to Ruskin, since it was the critical attack on Turner in Blackwood's Magazine, October 1836 which had initially prompted the writing of Modern Painters I. Described by John James Ruskin in 1851 as 'smart, clever, spiteful and amusing; concocted for a purpose, it purposely mutilates and perverts' ( Works, 9.xl), Blackwood's Magazine was the first of the major periodicals to review Modern Painters I. Ruskin responded to the harsh review by John Eagles in Blackwood's Magazine, October 1843 in the Preface to the Second Edition (MP I:xliv), incorporating Blackwood's critical comments into his text (See also Works, 3.404). Ruskin noted in his diary on 29 December 1843: 'put my rod nicely in pickle for Blackwood' ( Diary, I, p. 255). In the mid-1840s there was a suggestion by Robert Blackwood that Ruskin 'would be a great acquisition to the Magazine' ( Oliphant, Annals of a Publishing House, vol. 2, p.403.)

The somewhat ambivalent, but ultimately negative, review of the fifth edition of Modern Painters I which appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, September 1851 was by William Henry Smith, but Eagles returned to attack Ruskin, Millais and the Pre-Raphaelites in Blackwood's Magazine, July 1853. Two years later a hostile review by Margaret Oliphant appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, December 1855, thus reinforcing the spirit of animosity between Ruskin and Blackwood's.