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 www.ruskin200.com 

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:

https://gandhi.gov.in/gandhi-celebration.html.

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:  peter.miller30@btinternet.com

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

31 Aug - 27 Oct
Exhibition: Parabola of Pre-Raphaelitism: Turner, Ruskin, Rossetti, Morris and Burne-Jones
Abeno Hanikas Art Musem, Osaka, Japan
02 Sep
Exhibition: Happenstance: Invisible In The Current by Russell Mills
Brantwood, Severn Studio, Coniston

Informed and inspired by ideas of chaos and order, control and surrender, Russell Mills will exhibit new mixed media works and an ‘aleatoric’ soundwork, made specifically for Brantwood. Mills creates works that mirror and explore many of Ruskin’s ideas about nature: as matter, as force, as school, as metaphor for transformation, and as being profoundly political and economic.

Russell studied at Canterbury, Maidstone and the Royal College of Art. His work encompasses painting, installation, sound, film, and design for contemporary dance and music. He has worked with Brian Eno, Nine Inch Nails, David Sylvian and Peter Gabriel amongst many others.

05 Sep - 08 Dec
Exhibition: "Unto This Last” : 200 years of John Ruskin
Yale Centre for British Art, Lecture Hall, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven
06 Sep
Workshop: Flowers at Brantwood: Watercolour Workshop with Sally Bamber
Brantwood, Severn Studio, Coniston

A one day hands-on workshop to explore some techniques that Sally uses when painting flowers with watercolour. Time in the gardens with the flowers, with huge views across Coniston Water in a peaceful and calming setting. Painting in the airy loft house studio with large vases of cut flowers. If it’s raining please bring a hooded rain coat and walking boots or wellies.  10.00am – 5.00pm.  £70 per person

06 Sep
Conference: Goodness, Truth, & Beauty in the Work of John Ruskin and his Contemporaries
Anglia Ruskin University, East Road , Cambridge, CB1 1PT

9.45am-6.30pm

In her review of Ruskin’s ‘Modern Painters 3’, George Eliot writes: ‘The truth of infinite value that he teaches is realism- the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature, and not by substituting vague forms, bred by imagination on the mists of feeling, in a place of definite, substantial reality.’

Through the nineteenth-century, Ruskin, Eliot and a number of Victorian reformers sought to clarify the divine and human sources of, and the connections between, goodness, truth, and beauty. This conference will offer the opportunity to explore how belief in the inextricability of these concepts informed understandings of the self, the other, and the world and to investigate the shifts in perception witnessed later in the century.

The conference will include plenary lectures from Andrew Tate (Lancaster) and Rachel Dickinson (Manchester Metropolitan University). The conference is free to attend, but please reserve a ticket below. In addition, please inform Lizzie Ludlow of any dietary requirements before 29th August.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/goodness-truth-beauty-in-the-work-of-john-ruskin-and-his-contemporaries-tickets-66247559233

12 Sep
Talk: Hideyuki Sobue
Brantwood, Coniston

7.30pm (doors open at 7.00pm).  Tickets £7 (includes glass of wine on arrival).  Pre-talk supper can be booked in advance by email theterrace@brantwood.org.uk.

Through his Talk, Hideyuki will explore the relevance of John Ruskin’s legacy to our contemporary context, and consider his exhibition in the light of that.

19 Sep - 22 Sep
Arts & Crafts Festival 2019
Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square

Tickets and Information can be found: www.holytrinityartsandcrafts.org