I had heard of Ruskin’s name in Lake District and Sheffield but, not realised that they were the same one, until I went to the current exhibition at the Millennium gallery, commentating 200years since Ruskin’s birth. It seems Ruskin was born in neither Sheffield or the Lake District. He was born in London into a privileged lifestyle, that allowed him to travel widely from childhood onwards and to study at Oxford (where he gained a 4th class degree). From what I have learnt about him, he is hard to categorise; he wrote, painted and was a philanthropist, which is where Sheffield comes in as the city benefitted from this. He did not spend a lot of time in Sheffield, but Sheffield is set in the type of landscape he loved rolling hills like Yorkshire, Peak District, Lake District and Switzerland. Ruskin realised the workers in the steel and cutlery industrials did not get to enjoy the nature so close to the city. He wanted to bring nature and art to a workers in this situation. Serependiously for Sheffield a friend of Ruskin, Henry Swan has moved to Sheffield, so he was able to run the museum that Ruskin funded.
The museum was that Ruskin started was originally in Walkley, the collection moved around Sheffield and in recent years has been in the Millennium gallery. Over summer as well as the permanent Ruskin gallery there is a temporary Ruskin exhibition in a larger gallery. I looked at a couple of books about Ruskin that was next to sofas in the gallery. One of the books John Ruskin The power of seeing catalogue by Two Temple Place said how Ruskin’s museum in ‘Sheffield invited people to observe, reflect and develop as individuals’ a concept applicable to today’s modern society concerned with mental well being. I also looked at the Ruskin in Sheffield Janet Barnes so both informed, me about Ruskin for this post.
Aside from the books, there were paintings by Ruskin’s and others, including lots in Switzerland. At far end of gallery, some dramatic bold pictures of birds. There were also rocks and minerals on display. I would like to go again for a more thorough look at the exhibits. There is also some other related events coming up.