John Ruskin Collection: Finding Aid

Initial finding aid prepared by Huntington Library staff in 1969 and updated by Diann Benti in 2015.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
© 2015
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Collection

Title: John Ruskin Collection
Dates (inclusive): 1833-1888
Collection Number: mssHM 6097-6129, etc.
Additional Collection Numbers: mssHM 6097-6129; mssHM 7586-7622; mssHM 12881; mssHM 18908; mssHM 21655-21664; mssHM 24179; mssHM 25801-25861; mssHM 26320; mssHM 26353; mssHM 30341-30369; mssHM 30653-30658; mssHM 30883-30885; mssHM 31088-31098; and mssHM 32002-32014.
Creator: Ruskin, John, 1819-1900.
Extent: Approximately 175 items in 2 boxes and 8 loose volumes
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Abstract: This collection contains approximately 175 pieces of correspondence and manuscripts related to English author John Ruskin (1819-1900) and his career as a writer, professor, and art critic.
Language: English.
Finding aid last updated on November 5, 2015.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. John Ruskin Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


The collection was assembled from various sources, including:
  • Sotheby's, June 1-2, 1959 (Countess of Abingdon), Lot 385 (HM 25801)
  • W.S. Allen, 1925 (HM 7586-7589, 7591)
  • Sotheby's, March 14, 1967, Lot 225 (HM 30344-30369)
  • Sotheby's, December 12, 1967, Lot 514 (HM 30657-30657)
  • Sotheby's, December 10, 1968, Lot 796 (HM 31088-31098)
  • Hofmann & Freeman, Catalog 31: 126, June 1970 (HM 32003-32014)
Specific provenance information is written on the item folder.


Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Biographical Note

John Ruskin (1819-1900), an English critic of art, architecture, and society, as well as an artist and a teacher, was born February 8, 1819, in London, England. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 1843. After gaining wide recognition as an author, artist, and social reformer, he moved from London to Brantwood, Coniston Water, in 1872, where he remained until his death. In 1873, Ruskin met Susan Beever (1805-1893), and they became close friends, writing each other almost every day about their shared interests in nature, art and a love for animals; and in 1887, Albert Fleming edited and published a selection of these letters. Their voluminous correspondence was carried on until Beever's death in 1893.
He was elected first Slade Professor of Art at Oxford in 1870 and held the post until 1878 and then again from 1883 to 1884. From 1878 until his death, Ruskin was plagued with recurring brain attacks. He made many trips abroad, several in an attempt to cure himself of these brain fevers.
However, by 1889 his literary career was at an end. He died January 20, 1900, and was buried at Coniston beside Beever.

Scope and Content

This collection contains approximately 175 pieces of correspondence and manuscripts related to English author John Ruskin (1819-1900) that deal chiefly with his career as a writer, professor, and art critic. The earliest item in the collection is a volume titled Practical Geometry, containing problems and exercises, with some additional sketches and notes by Ruskin, dated 1833 (HM 6103).
The correspondence series includes:
  • 61 letters, dated 1858-1873, to Louisa Anne De La Poer Beresford, Marchioness of Waterford, a Pre-Raphaelite watercolorist.
  • 11 letters to Sarah Corlass (circa 1850-1865)
  • 12 letters to actor Norman Forbes in 1888
  • 26 letters to novelist Margaret Raine Hunt, from 1867 to 1887
  • 6 letters to John Henry Larkin
For a detailed list of Ruskin's artwork within the collection, see "A Checklist of Pre-Raphaelite Works of Art in the Huntington Library and Art Collections," Huntington Library Quarterly Vol. 55, No. 1 (Winter, 1992), pp. 225-251.

Related materials in the Huntington Library


The collection is arranged in the following 2 series:
  • Manuscripts arranged by title
  • Correspondence and manuscripts arranged by author

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


Ruskin, John, 1819-1900 -- Archives.
University of Oxford.
Art critics -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Authors, English -- 19th century -- Archives.


Drawings -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Manuscripts -- Great Britain -- 19th century.


Allen, George, 1832-1907, recipient.
Appleton, Charles Edward Cutts Birch, 1841-1879, recipient.
Corlass, Sarah, recipient.
Crawley, Frederick, recipient.
Forbes, Norman, 1858-1932, recipient.
Hunt, Alfred William, Mrs., 1831-1912, recipient.
Larkin, Henry, 1820-1899, recipient.
Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford, 1818-1891, recipient.

Collection Contents


Manuscripts and correspondence arranged by title


Loose volumes

Physical Description: 9 volumes
Loose volume

HM 6104 Gold; a dialogue. 1863

MS.S. 24 leaves 4to. In the hand of an amanuensis. Content connected with the subject of "Munera Pulveris."
Loose volume

HM 6099 Lectures on architecture and painting: "The Edinburgh Lectures." c. 1854

A.MS. 201 leaves 4to. and fol. The versos of some of the leaves have eleven line-and-wash sketches.
Loose volume

HM 6102 [Notes on Samuel Prout and William Hunt]. 1879-1880

MS. (partly autograph) 88 leaves. Some printed pages, most with autograph corrections; includes pen-and-ink sketch.
Loose volume

HM 6100 [Notes on the Royal Academy and other exhibitions]. c. 1855

A.MS. 53 leaves fol. and 8 proof sheets. Includes pen-and-ink sketches.
Loose volume

HM 6103 Practical Geometry. 1833

A.MS. 38 leaves 4to. A note of presentation and page headings in ornamental pen work, in another hand; with inscription on the flyleaf: Master Ruskin, Jan. 21, 1833.
Loose volume

HM 6097 The Seven Lamps of Architecture. [c. 1849]

A.MS. 2 vols. fol. Vol. 1: text, 224p., with several sketches. Vol. 2: 17 drawings, plus two sets of proofs of 14 plates engraved on India paper for the first and second editions, respectively.
Loose volume

HM 6101 The Two Paths. 1858-1859

A.MS. 170 leaves fol. Included are pen-and-ink sketches and 130 pages in proof of the 1st edition with many corrections.
Loose volume

HM 6098 Unto the Last. [c. 1862]

A.MS. 82 leaves. Essays three and four only, "Que Judicati" and "Ad Vaolrem." Includes several small pen-and-ink sketches, and on leaf 82, there is a large original drawing by Ruskin.
Box  1 , Folder 1


Physical Description: 9 pieces

 HM 21659.  [ Arrows of the Chace: Fragments from "The Arts As a Branch of Education" and the "Turner Sketches and Drawings"] [1857-1858]

A. MSS. 1 leaf fol. And 1 leaf 9 x 8 3/8 in. 2 pieces. Includes pencil sketch.

HM 7587 The Elements of Perspective. [c. 1859]

A.MS. 43 leaves. Includes preface, introduction, and portion of text and appendices, with 11 pp. of corrected proofs. Versos of leaves 2 and 3 are from the second letter of "The Oxford Museum," in an unknown hand with Ruskin's autograph corrections.

 HM 21662.  [Expedition of Darius into Scythia] [c. 1836]

A. MS. 1 leaf. fol. Fragment; includes sketches.

HM 7589 Fors Clavigera. [c. 1878]

A.MS. 10 p. fol. & 4to. Fragment of letter 88.

 HM 21661.  [Fragment of notes relating to the competitive designs submitted for the new Government buildings] [c. 1857]

A. MS. 3 leaves. fol.

HM 7591 [Miscellaneous notes]. [c. 1870]

A.MS. 10 p. fol. Includes a pen-over-pencil sketch.

 HM 21660.  [Notes for: Essay on Baptism] [c. 1850]

A. MS. 1 leaf. fol.

HM 7586 Pre-Raphaelitism. [c. 1851]

A.MS. 17 p. fol. (incomplete). Begins abruptly in mid-text.

HM 7588 To Dear Dr. Acland, 2nd letter on the Oxford Museum. [c. 1859]

A.MS. 12 p. fol. Includes pen-and-ink sketch. Incomplete letter to Sir Henry Wentworth Acland, with a fragment of a second draft, with cuttings from proofs pasted on.

HM 7590 To Henry Swan [notes and draft for an article on Fra Filippo Lippi and Carpaccio]. [1879 January 12]

A.MS. 11 p. 8vo.

Manuscripts and correspondence arranged by author


Loose volume

Physical Description: 1 volume
Loose volume

HM 6105-6129 Ruskin, John. To Edward Clayton. 1839-1845

25 letters. HM 6110 and 6118-20 include pen-and-ink sketches. Many of these letters were published as Letters addressed to a college friend during the years 1840-1845 (1894).
Box  1

Manuscripts and correspondence, Ruskin to A-D

Physical Description: 82 pieces

HM 21655. Ruskin, John. To George Allen. [1873, October 14].


HM 21656. Ruskin, John. To George Allen. [1875 November-December].


HM 21657. Ruskin, John. To George Allen. [1876, November 4].


HM 30653-30657. Ruskin, John. To Charles Edward Cutts Birch Appleton, Editor of Academy.  [between 1873 and 1879].

5 letters.

HM 7612. Ruskin, John. To Daniel Bromly.  1877, April 15.


HM 7622. Ruskin, John. To Francis H. Butler. [1886, March 9].


HM 12881. Ruskin, John. To George Butterworth.  [c. 1870].


HM 21658. Ruskin, John. To Ernest Chesneau.  1882, July 3.


HM 32002. Ruskin, John. To Clifford [----]. 1885 April 24.


HM 7604. Ruskin, John. To Frederick Crawley.  1875, Oct. 4.


HM 7614-7619. Ruskin, John. To Frederick Crawley. 1878-1881.

6 letters. 

HM 7621. Ruskin, John. To Frederick Crawley.  1882, November 14.


HM 25801-25861. Ruskin, John. To Louisa De La Poer, Marchioness of Waterford. 1858-1873.

61 letters. Includes a note by Euphemia Chalmers (Gray) Millais in HM 25801 and pen-and-ink sketches in HM 25839-40. 
Box  2

Manuscripts and correspondence, Ruskin to E-Z

Physical Description: 83 pieces

HM 31088-31098. Ruskin, John. To Sarah Corlass. [c. 1850-1865 and undated].

11 letters.

HM 7601. Ruskin, John. To Editor of the Examiner. 1867, December 9.


HM 32003-32014. Ruskin, John. To Norman Forbes. 1888.

12 letters.

HM 7592. Ruskin, John. To Frederick James Furnivall.  [1850].


HM 7613. Ruskin, John. To Frederick Gale.  1878, July 2.


HM 7620. Ruskin, John. To Miss Gatty.  1881, July 24.


HM 30344-30369. Ruskin, John. To Margaret (Raine) Hunt. 1867-1887.

26 letters. HM 30353 includes a pen-and-ink sketch.

HM 30885. Ruskin, John. To "Dearest Isola" [----].  [c. 1870?].


HM 7595. Ruskin, John. To George Jones.  [1855, October 6].


HM 7605-7610. Ruskin, John. To Henry Larkin. 1875-1876.

6 letters.  HM 7598-99 include pen-and-ink sketches.

HM 7597-99. Ruskin, John. To John Richard Larkin. [1865, August 24-September 25].

3 letters. 

HM 7596. Ruskin, John. To Sir John Murray Naesmyth, Bart.  [1861, Mar?] 25.


HM 26353. Ruskin, John. To I. M. Nicholson.  [after 1843] Jan. 31.


HM 30883. Ruskin, John. To Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore.  [1871?].


HM 30884. Ruskin, John. To Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore.  1881 June 10.


HM 30658. Ruskin, John. To [----] Pattison.  [before 1879].


HM 7611. Ruskin, John. To Robert Rawson.  1876, May 18.


HM 7600. Ruskin, John. To Charles Richardson.  [1867, May 15].


HM 18908. Ruskin, John. To George Richardson.  1868 July 13.


HM 7602. Ruskin, John. To Sir John Simon.  [1871] March 31.


HM 7593. Ruskin, John. To George Smith.  [1851 August 3].


HM 7594. Ruskin, John. To George Smith.  [1855, May].


HM 30341-30343. Ruskin, John. To Dora Thomas, a student. 1879-1883.

3 letters. 

HM 21663. Ruskin, John. To [----]. [between 1856 and 1871].


HM 39921. Ruskin, John. To "Dear Sir". 1862 April.


HM 26320. Ruskin, John. To "My dear Sir" (with sepia photograph of Ruskin).  [before 1871].


HM 7603. Ruskin, John. To [----].  1875 February 19.


HM 21664. Ruskin, John. To Dear Madam.  1883 August 19.