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Ruskin's Good Looking!:

Project: Research


This project tests ideas of John Ruskin (1819 -1900) the nineteenth century art critic, philanthropist and social thinker by applying Ruskin;'s ideas on drawing to his own belongings. Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing (1857) remains a touchstone for drawing research and is often cited for its core tenet that drawing sharpens visual attention. The project was developed in collaboration with The Brantwood Trust and Toronto-based Dress Detective, Dr Ingrid Mida.

This project put this premise to the test, using it to uncover material ‘clues’ of Ruskin’s life embedded in christening clothes, dress suit, his signature necktie and hat which remain at Brantwood, Ruskin's house for the latter part of his life. It is the first time that these garments have been visually examined through drawing. In response to studying these garments at Brantwood, a series of new large-scale drawings were produced and exhibited at Brantwood to mark the start of the Ruskin Bicentenary celebrations in 2019.

The project outcomes are exhibition and supporting catalogue which provide new evidence for the value of drawing as a research method, contributing to a growing debate within studies of material culture. The exhibition catalogue includes images of the drawings from the exhibition, information about the research project and new essays by Anuradha Chatterjee and Ingrid Mida.

Key findings

Through Sarah Casey's close observation through drawing new features of the garments came to light, including a tailor's label inside the tail coat, ascribing the garment firmly to Ruskin.
Effective start/end date1/12/1730/04/19

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