Daguerreotype of Les Aiguilles, Chamonix

Spotlight: Landscapes

Ruskin’s writings about natural and cultural environments addressed concerns ranging from the practical and the political to the moral, spiritual and aesthetic. Many of his works raise concerns that remain critical to the global challenges of our own time.

Ruskin’s life coincided with the radical expansion of the industrial revolution. The social and environmental changes that revolution brought profoundly influenced his career. He contributed directly to the development of national organisations and institutions that aimed to safeguard the natural and built environment in the long term and which have subsequently set standards for preservation and conservation at a global scale.

Among the treasures of the Ruskin Whitehouse Collection are 125 daguerreotypes made under Ruskin’s direction at a time when the art of photography was in its infancy. Daguerreotypes of this kind are extremely rare, and the value of the specimens in our collection is substantially enhanced by their subject matter, which includes now-vanished European cityscapes and Alpine landscapes. These photographs are of outstanding interest to art, social and environmental historians alike.