Sketching from Nature: 'Perceptions of the Beauty of the Natural World'

Sketching from Nature: 'Perceptions of the Beauty of the Natural World'

12 January – 6 April 2008

A exhibition of drawings by children from Garstang Community Primary School, alongside works by Ruskin and his students.

John Ruskin ate, slept and breathed the natural world. He was fascinated by it, had a deep understanding of it and used it as a consistent theme in the artwork and writing he created throughout his life. When teaching, he was passionate about encouraging students to draw what they saw around them.

This exhibition was curated to show some aspects of Ruskin’s interactions with the natural world around him, as well as his attempts to share his fascination and knowledge with his friends, contemporaries, students and readers. It grew from the educational workshops run by our Museum staff for school children.

Alstroemeria, by a pupil from Garstang Community Primary School; Barbara Crystal Collingwood: Willow twig.

Our drawing workshop aims to introduce young people to Ruskin’s work, ideas and teaching methods, by applying them in a practical way. Guided by a loose theme of the natural world, and given a wide variety of subjects and materials to choose from, students from Garstang Community Primary School created the wonderful drawings showcased in this exhibition. To complement their artwork, drawings by John Ruskin and his own students were also displayed, along with a video showing one of our workshops in action.

Joan Severn: Flower Studies: white campion, buttercup and 'ragged robin'., 1872; Hydrangea, by a pupil from Garstang Community Primary School

Also displayed was a selection of letters written to staff by children who had visited us, plus drawings by members of the International Women's Group who had also visited for a similar drawing workshop.

Study by John Ruskin, from a letter to Joan Severn, 29 May 1874; letter from a young visitor to our Museum staff, 2007