inaugural richard mcdougall lecture

Coming of Age: John Ruskin’s Drawings and Watercolours from the Grand Tour of 1840-41

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

18.00, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

watercolour painting in browns of houses around the Bay of Naples with mountains in the distance
John Ruskin, Bay of Naples, 1841. Watercolour, gouache (white), graphite on paper. height: 35 cm; width: 47.2 cm. Acquisition: The Courtauld, Jeanne (Miss); bequest; 2005 D.2005.XX.10. Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

Speaker(s): Stephen Wildman (Professor of the History of Art and Director, Ruskin Library and Research Centre, Lancaster University)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Ernst Vegelin/ Caroline Arscott

Ruskin’s early drawings and watercolours have been the subject of very little detailed study. In this lecture, Stephen Wildman will share the fruits of investigating the Grand Tour to France and Italy made by Ruskin, then aged 21, with his parents between September 1840 and June 1841. By his own account he made “47 large size sketches and 34 small”, many of which it is possible to identify; of surviving drawings, the largest number is in the Ruskin Library, with others as far afield as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Ruskin Library in Tokyo. A neglected body of work, it was influenced by the work of Samuel Prout and David Roberts, but also represents the maturity of Ruskin as a draughtsman.

Stephen Wildman is Professor of the History of Art and Director of the Ruskin Library and Research Centre at Lancaster University. A Cambridge graduate, he was formerly Deputy Keeper of Fine Art (Prints and Drawings) at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. He has organised many exhibitions of 19th and 20th century British art and design, including David Cox (1983), The Birmingham School (1990), Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from Birmingham (1995), Edward Burne-Jones (1998), Waking Dreams: Pre-Raphaelite Art from Delaware Art Museum (2005) and Ruskin, Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites (2000, with Robert Hewison and Ian Warrell).

This lecture inaugurates the Richard McDougall Lecture series which will be delivered biannually at The Courtauld Institute of Art on the topic of British watercolour painting post-1750s. This lecture coincides with the exhibition, Life, Legend, Landscape: Victorian Drawings and Watercolours, which is on display at The Courtauld Gallery, 17 February – 15 May 2011.

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