Revisioning Ruskin: the Art of Scientific Innovation
Project Lead: Professor Sandra Kemp
‘Revisioning Ruskin’ is a programme to reposition Ruskin’s works in the context of scientific innovation through a portfolio of research, exhibitions and events.
A programme of conservation funded by the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust will enable us to conserve, digitise, document and research a number of the Lecture Diagrams in The Ruskin Whitehouse Collection with the Scottish Conservation Studio.
This exhibition explores Ruskin’s belief that learning should be part of the pulse of everyday life. Ruskin’s spectacular public lectures were equal parts verbal and visual, enhanced by hand-crafted models, casts and lecture diagrams - some of which haven’t been seen since Ruskin himself used them on stage.
School of Ruskin launches digitally from October 2020, with a virtual exhibition accompanied by a series of broadcasts from The Ruskin, and the launch of a conservation appeal for Ruskin’s lecture diagrams. Broadcasts will open up the bring the process of conserving the first lecture diagrams with the Scottish Conservation Studio. The on-site iteration of ‘School of Ruskin’ will open in January 2021, co-developed with our campus communities.
This exhibition is part of a ground-breaking collaborative project in partnership with The Royal Society placing the history and legacy of lecture diagrams in the arts in the wider tradition established in the sciences.
Scientific innovation and technical advance were part of Ruskin’s tool-kit for discovery. His works and collections evidence a lifelong fascination in the composition and qualities of natural phenomena including clouds, geological strata and shells. His analysis, centered in an alert practice of close observation, was aided by instruments such as the cyanometer, microscope, telescope and camera. Ruskin participated in the networks driving scientific and technological innovation in nineteenth-century London, while nurturing the nation’s curiosity through his many gifts of natural science and science illustration collections in his lifetime.