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The Elements of Drawing: John Ruskin’s Teaching Collections at Oxford

The University of Oxford owns the majority of the teaching collections and catalogues assembled by John Ruskin for his Oxford drawing schools in the third quarter of the 19th century. This material, which included drawings by himself and other artists, prints and photographs, is now in the care of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology.

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The Elements of Drawing is an online version of Ruskin’s teaching collections and catalogues, which unites his comments and instructions to his students with modern curatorial information about each object. In particular, the drawings are cross-linked to Ruskin’s own notes on how they should be used for teaching and research.

Users can browse through the website or search for specific works. The Learning section contains ideas for using the website and collection, including a video-based drawing course delivered by Stephen Farthing RA. In Collection Trails, academics and others select objects from the collection and provide background information on a variety of themes, and the Ruskin Now section features contemporary creative responses to the material by artists and writers, including Hadrian Pigott, Jeremy Millar, Tania Kovats, John Kippin, Philip Hoare and Robert Hewison.

Commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art and Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in association with the Learning Technologies Group at the University of Oxford and supported by funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.