Ruskin was passionate about the importance of education as a lifelong pursuit. Both in his teaching and his research, he promoted the use of new methods to reach new audiences.
He delivered the results of his studies in public performances with large props, and he radically developed the relationship of illustration to text in the printed book form by combining documentation, measurement, photography, drawing and verbal depictions with reflective commentary.
Ruskin also introduced a new approach to art pedagogy in his Elements of Drawing (1857), which aimed to assist students from a range of backgrounds in learning the principles and practice of drawing. He later became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing in 1871.
In addition to facilitating the study of these aspects of Ruskin’s working practices, the Ruskin Whitehouse Collection affirms his enduring commitment to promoting education for all. The Collection contains records relating to the establishment of the Guild of St George in 1871 and the founding of the St George’s Museum in Walkley, Sheffield, to which Ruskin donated his own collection as exhibits. Today, the Guild exists as a charitable education trust that supports community projects and provides scholarships and awards for crafts, agricultural science, art history, education, industry and social science.