The Whitehouse Collection
26. The Whitehouse Collection is the largest collection of a single author’s works anywhere in the world.
27. The Collection was started by John Howard Whitehouse (1873-1955), Liberal MP for Mid Lanark from 1910-18.
28. Whitehouse worked as a clerk for Cadbury in the 1890s. He campaigned for a national memorial to Ruskin to be erected in their model village (Bourneville).
29. Bourneville’s Ruskin Hall was the result of Whitehouse’s campaign; once the Bournville Centre for Visual Arts, with a library, museum and lecture hall, it is now part of Birmingham City University’s International College.
30. Whitehouse worked briefly with Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement, and edited The Scout.
31. Whitehouse was the first Secretary of the Ruskin Society of Birmingham.
32. Whitehouse also founded Bembridge School on the Isle of Wight, and in 1929 built the Ruskin Galleries at the school to house his growing collection of materials relating to John Ruskin.
33. James S. Dearden joined Bembridge School as a pupil in the 1940s and returned in 1957 to organise the Whitehouse Collection. He became the Curator (and a teacher of printing) until the school closed and the collection moved to Lancaster in 1996.
34. Whitehouse bought Brantwood, Ruskin’s last home on the eastern shore of Coniston, in 1932. It is now an accredited museum, filled with paintings, furniture and treasures of Ruskin's, and has a vibrant programme of events all year round.
35. After Whitehouse’s death, his Collection continued to be developed by the Education Trust Ltd.
36. The Whitehouse Collection contains 196 manuscripts, including 29 volumes of Ruskin’s diaries from 1835-1888 (many of which remain unpublished).
37. The Collection also contains around 7,400 letters (also largely unpublished), including over 3,000 letters of correspondence between John Ruskin and his cousin Joan Severn, plus those to and from other relatives and associates.
38. There are around 350 books from Ruskin’s own library in the Collection.
39. The collection includes successive editions of all of Ruskin's published writings, which together form a collected edition of 39 volumes.
40. There are also many translated versions of some of his more important texts like Modern Painters, The Stones of Venice and Unto this Last, in languages such as Japanese, French, Italian and Esperanto.
41. The holding of books about Ruskin, from contemporary criticism to modern academic studies (which are added to by the Ruskin Foundation), is complemented by an archive of transcripts, articles and newspaper cuttings. Every aspect of his wide-ranging interests is represented, from religion and the arts to political economy, geology and the environment.
42. Our Galleries display a selection from the Whitehouse Collection’s some 1,500 drawings and 500 prints – 950 of which are by Ruskin himself.
43. The Collection also contains works by Ruskin’s associates, including Samuel Prout, Francesca Alexander and Albert Goodwin.
44. 140 photographs and an important group of 125 daguerreotypes, made under Ruskin’s direction, complete the Collection.