Pre-Felton works purchased on Ruskin’s advice
* Frere Cottage Interior {1872} Loc? [PA]
Gray Child playing grandmother 1870 {1872} NGV [PA]
* Morrish Landscape, near Manaton 1870 {1871} Loc? [WT]
Phillott The Haunt of Ancient Peace {1871} NGV [WT]
* Watson Cottage scenery {1871} Loc? [WT]

See also
* Boehm [after] John Ruskin {1876?} Geelong [SC]
Ruskin Stones of Venice 1851-53 {by 1857} SLV [IB]

Widely influential as both an art and social critic during the Victorian era, Ruskin retained a strong following in the Edwardian period, in Britain and elsewhere, including Australia (see now Stiles 2010, as cited below).

In his earlier career, Ruskin championed both J.M.W.Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites, and also celebrated medieval in preference to classical values, notably in The Stones of Venice (1851-53). Later, his views became increasingly conservative, and in 1877 he infamously accused Whistler of “flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.”

Ruskin advised the NGV on purchases in 1871-2, recommending a modest group of works (listed above). Bernard Hall later mentioned Ruskin as one of those who, in his view, had done comparatively little for the NGV as overseas advisors. The evidence does seem to bear out this criticism, although there were difficulties at the time due to both Ruskin and James Herbert being chosen as advisors in 1871, in preference to the incumbent, Alfred Thomson (Leonard Cox provides details in his NGV history).

The early book purchases for the Melbourne Public Library (to 1861) included a number of Ruskin’s publications, including first editions of Modern Painters (1846-56), and The Stones of Venice, as listed above (for a full list, see Appendix: Other significant books acquired for the Melbourne Public Library to 1861); a number of these volumes appear to have been discarded later, probably after Cook and Wedderburn’s 39-volume edition (1903-12) was acquired for the library.


For Ruskin as NGV advisor, see Cox NGV (1970), pp.31-32, and also p.113 (quoting Hall’s 1928 critique of Ruskin and others for what Hall regarded as their insignificant value as overseas advisors). 

Ruskin’s own published writings are literally voluminous, even without considering secondary comment on his ideas and influence. Kenneth Clark’s volumes of excerpts, Ruskin Today (John Murray, 1964) is a helpful starting point. Ruskin’s Whistler review appears in Fors Clavigera (The Works of John Ruskin, ed.E.T.Cook & Alexander Wedderburn, vol.29), London, 1907, letter 79. See also Mark Douglas Stiles, “Reading Ruskin: Architecture and Social Reform in Australia, 1889-1908” (PhD thesis, University of NSW, Sydney, 2010), (available online; copy checked June 2013)