Mary Beever, Lakeland Scene

The Ruskin

Our Research

Our work is defined by our commitment to using our collections to facilitate collaborative research in partnership with a range of public and academic audiences.

Taking inspiration from the epoch-defining artist, critic and social thinker John Ruskin (1819–1900), we embrace a broad research agenda that cuts across disciplinary boundaries.

We actively support historical research based on our collections, and we are passionate about using our collections as a springboard for exploring pressing issues for today and for the future.

Working across the arts and sciences, our Research Centre explores how Ruskin's epoch-defining ideas can unlock pressing current and future social, cultural and environmental issues.

We regularly collaborate with partners, institutions and individuals from the UK and beyond to support exhibitions and events locally, nationally and around the world.

We welcome everyone(not just researchers) to explore our collections, and you can do so online (starting with our Collections page) or by visiting The Ruskin in person.

Our Collections

The Ruskin - Library, Museum and Research Centre is home to the Ruskin Whitehouse Collection of the art and writings of John Ruskin (1819–1900).

The collection is the largest assemblage of Ruskin material in the world. As extensive as it is diverse, the collection comprises more than 1,500 drawings, 500 prints, 7,400 letters, 29 volumes of manuscript diaries and 350 books from Ruskin’s own library.

These materials reflect Ruskin’s polymathic and multimedia interests. Collectively, they afford both a 360° view of the origins of Ruskin’s thinking and an unparalleled insight into Victorian life, literature and art.

The Ruskin Whitehouse Collection is also a fantastic resource for framing and exploring issues in fields ranging from material science and data science to heritage studies and futures studies.

Our Building

Standing at the top of Bigforth Drive, The Ruskin is one of Lancaster University’s most prominent landmarks. The building’s distinctive appearance is the work of Sir Richard MacCormac, whose design conveys aspects of Ruskin’s lifelong interest in the city of Venice.

The Ruskin was opened to the public by HRH Princess Alexandra in 1998. For the past twenty years, it has continued to fulfil its mission of engaging new audiences in the study and exploration of Ruskin’s works and legacy through exhibitions and events.

Find out more about our building by watching Sir Richard MacCormac's talk below.

Watch a talk with Sir Richard MacCormac

On 22 April 2010, Sir Richard MacCormac visited the Museum with the structural engineer for the project, Mike Popper. He used the occasion to present a Ruskin Seminar about the background to the project and his designs for the building.