John Ruskin (1819–1900) challenged the ideals and values of his own time and, in the process, paved the way for modes of thinking today.
Ruskin’s ability to connect the social, the cultural and the scientific inspired some of the great social reformers of the twentieth century, from Gandhi to the architects of the welfare state. He was a transformative art critic whose ideas set the cultural agenda of his era.
Ruskin campaigned for education for all. His charity for the arts, crafts and the rural economy, The Guild of St George, continues to put Ruskin’s ideas into practice today.
Ruskin drew attention to our need to protect the natural world. He spent the last 28 years of his life at Brantwood, a house and estate on Coniston Water in the Lake District. A ‘living laboratory’, at Brantwood Ruskin created a practical experiment in ecological principles. His work laid the foundations for the National Trust and foreshadowes the work of modern ecologists.