Attributed to John Ruskin (British, London 1819–1900 Brantwood, Cumbria)
Watercolor over graphite on card
sheet: 11 15/16 x 10 3/16 in. (30.4 x 25.8 cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 2002
Not on view
Ruskin became one of the most influential critics of the Victorian era, a close friend of J. M. W. Turner, and himself an accomplished watercolorist. From about the age of ten he carried a sketchbook with him on trips, and was particularly attracted by geological features that define landscapes. This drawing describes a valley with coal mining machinery in the middle distance before houses, a church, and distant hill crowned by a castle. Colored washes use acid green, mauve, pink, dark green and brown to distinguish key forms, with graphite only applied to describe water running over rocks, and a row of foreground flowers. The curling upturned ends of the lines, and overall refinement and precision are in keeping with Ruskin's early work of the 1840s when his style remained close to that of his teacher James Duffield Harding.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: Inscribed in graphite, lower center: "Ruskin"
Sale, Swann Galleries, Inc., January 31, 2002 (sale 1923), lot 306; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel , Munich