8. Ruskin’s Gardener-Angel, David Downs

David Downs (1818-1888) was Ruskin’s gardener and his go-to man whenever one of his many projects needed a boost. Ruskin scholars generally suggest that Downs was a rather put-upon loyal family servant whose nous brought order to Ruskin’s chaotic schemes. But...

7. Jen Shepherd

For more than 20 years, Jen Shepherd was a key member of the team at the Ruskin Library and Research Centre at Lancaster University. Her recent death represents a sad loss to all who knew her. THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS Whenever I arrived at the Ruskin Library, Jen was...

6. Ruskin’s Coachman

As many of us prepare for Christmas in some of the strangest circumstances we can remember, let’s look to Ruskin’s wider circle for cheering memories Christmas Day 1928, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported, would mark the 50th wedding anniversaries of “Mr and Mrs...

5. John Ernest Phythian

I promised in my last blog, which was about the Ruskin Exhibition held in Manchester in 1904, to remedy the absence in biographical dictionaries of an entry for J. Ernest Phythian. Phythian was one of Manchester’s foremost Ruskinians and deserves to be remembered for...

4. The Ruskin Exhibition, Manchester (1904)

In the spring of 1904, a major Ruskin Exhibition was mounted at the Manchester City Art Gallery. It presented drawings and paintings by Ruskin, Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites, pictures of architecture and copies by Ruskin’s pupils, as well as portraits and...