Ruskin To-Day is an informal network devoted to promoting wider knowledge and understanding of the ideas of the great Victorian writer, reformer and artist, John Ruskin (1819–1900).

2019 sees the bicentenary of Ruskin’s birth on 8th February, 1819. This site has been set up to provide as much information as possible about Ruskin-related events that are taking place between now and the close of 2019.

There is a calendar of events that will be updated regularly, and a map that will help you find events near you.

There are also links to the many organisations that make up the Ruskin community. There is another website dedicated to the Bicentennial 

On Thursday 11 June 2019 at the preview of The 5th John Ruskin Prize shortlist exhibition; Agent of Change held at The Holden Gallery, Manchester School of Art, the prize organisers, visual literacy charity The Big Draw announced the 3 winners of The John Ruskin Prize 2019 where they were presented with their share of this year’s £5000 prize fund.

The John Ruskin Prize 2019 Prize Winners:
1st Prize (£3000): Juliette Losq, 2nd Prize (£1000): Shanti Panchal, Student / Recent Graduate Prize (£1000): Chao Wang

Following a challenging winner selection for the 2019 panel, artist Juliette Losq was selected by the panel as the 1st Prize Winner for her hand painted 3D installation ‘Proscenium’ – an immersive installation based on a ‘Teleorama’ optical device. Measuring an impressive 3 metres in height and width the intricately layered work defies belief as the restrictive boundaries of watercolour are boldly rejected. The 2019 selection panel were taken by the form and content of the work, the elegant brushwork at odds with the brutality of urban decay brought full circle as nature reclaims its rightful place.


Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

 Mohandas K Gandhi, regarded by Indians as ‘the Father of the Nation’ was born on 2 October 1869. This year is therefore the 150th anniversary of his birth: a nice coincidence that it should fall in Ruskin’s bicentennial year. There is an official website for the anniversary, set up by the Indian government:

Gandhi attributed his change of heart to the influence of Ruskin. He wrote of Ruskin’s Unto this Last that it ‘brought about an instantaneous and practical transformation in my life …. I translated it later into Gujarati, entitling it Sarvodaya (The Welfare of All). I believe that I discovered some of my deepest convictions reflected in this great book of Ruskin, and that is why it so captured me and made me transform my life. A poet is one who can call forth the good latent in the human breast. Poets do not influence all alike, for everyone is not evolved in equal measure. The teaching of Unto This Last I understood to be: 1. That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
2. That a lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s inasmuch as all have the same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
3. That a life of labour, i.e., the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.
The first of these I knew. The second I had dimly realized. The third had never occurred to me. Unto This Last made it as clear as daylight for me that the second and the third were contained in the first. I arose with the dawn, ready to reduce these principles to practice.’ M.K. Gandhi, An Autobiography or The Story of my Experiments with Truth (1927-1929), trans. Mahadev Desai, part IV, ch. XVIII.

Sarvodaya is really an adaptation of Unto this Last for an Indian context. There is a ‘retrotranslation’ of it in English, Unto this Last: A Paraphrase, translated by Valji Govindji Desai. It can be found on the internet, and a few copies are available from Peter Miller of the Guild of St George:

In 1949, just after Gandhi’s assassination, George Orwell wrote this of him: ‘regarded simply as a politician and, compared with the other leading political figures of our time, how clean a smell he has managed to leave behind!’

Clive Wilmer



Upcoming events and exhibits: 2019

24 Jul
Ruskin in Manchester: Family Crafts, Cloud Observation
Elizabeth Gaskell's House 84 Plymouth Grove Manchester, England, M13 9LW

£1 per child. Usual admission for adults (£4/£5)

All welcome, family-friendly workshop

Inspired by Ruskin’s writing and painting featuring clouds, families will enjoy some cloud spotting, and write poems based on what they’ve observed. There will also be the chance to paint some clouds using cotton wool.

24 Jul
Workshop: Inspired by Ruskin with Amanda Beck
The Ashmolean, Oxford


Learning Studio

This workshop celebrates the 200th Anniversary of John Ruslin through drawing. First Vview original works in the Print Room, followed by a practical workshop exploring the techniques andn materials used by Ruskin.


Booking 01865 278112 or in person at the ashmolean shop.

27 Jul - 26 Aug
Exhibition: Landscape - a Visionary Approach by Patricia Haskey and Mike Shepherd
Brantwood, Severn Studio, Coniston

Patricia and Mike have worked together for over twelve years and share a love of the Lake District and a visionary approach to interpreting the landscape with their different mediums.

To quote Ruskin  “Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth”

Exhibiting paintings and photographs together is not really known in England, but it has long been a tradition in other countries, particularly America where, in the 291 Gallery in New York (early 20th century), as the Arabian Nights). Young Ali Baba stumbles across an enchanted cave when he overhears the magic words that open it: “Open Sesame!” Inside the cave he finds and steals untold amounts of gold and jewels. But what will he do when the Robber King comes looking for revenge? The show is notable for the most riotously funny scene Illyria has created in its 28 year history, where one character polishes off all the thieves – yes, all 40, and you get to count each one!

31 Jul
Ruskin in Manchester: Family Crafts, Weaving
Elizabeth Gaskell's House, 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester M13 9LW


Family Friendly | £1 per child. Usual admission for adults (£4/£5)

Children and their adults can try this traditional craft, using wool, ribbon and thread to create rustic artworks using twigs and cardboard looms.

04 Aug
Event: Ruskin and Music
St Thomas's Church, Kendal


A special event of the Lake District Summer Music Festival


07 Aug
Ruskin in Manchester: Family Crafts, Drawing Nature
Elizabeth Gaskell's House, 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester M13 9LW


Family Friendly event | £1 per child. Usual admission for adults (£4/£5)

Inspired by Ruskin’s focus on close observation of nature, this workshop will involve looking closely at sea shells, feathers and leaves (the latter from the garden at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House) using magnifying glasses, and drawing on sketch paper in pencils and pen.

08 Aug - 11 Nov
Exhibition: Treasure from Dust: Ruskin’s Geology
Brantwood, Coniston, UK