The Art of England: Lectures Given in Oxford

by John Ruskin


John Ruskin (February 8, 1819 – January 20, 1900) was a brilliant English writer, artist, thinker and philanthropist. He was born into a family of means, which afforded him an excellent education. His parents were very encouraging of him, and Ruskin benefited from frequent travels throughout his lifetime. He began publishing, often poetry and articles on nature, and attended the University of Oxford, where he graduated with rare highest honors, despite bouts of illness.

He began traveling with his parents throughout Italy, France and other parts of Europe, where his writings on art criticism and history were well received. Among other arguments, Ruskin felt that architectural restoration was in fact, a form of destruction, and felt that preservation and conservation were better approaches. In 1848 he married Effie Gray, but the marriage was very unhappy and remained unconsummated until 1854, when it was annulled.

By 1850, in addition to much writing, Ruskin began to give popular public lectures on architecture and on painting in particular. But by the later 1850s, Ruskin began focusing his work on economics, particularly labor and social justice. His political ideas became extremely influential, particularly to Mohandas Gandhi. Later, he was invited to lecture at the University of Oxford. He also founded a utopian society, the Guild of St. George, in 1871. Ruskin wrote a great deal, lectured, and experimented with architecture and community until he died of influenza January 20, 1900 at the age of 80.

This new edition is dedicated to Dr. Ruskin Chádez Ibarra, scholar and researcher.