Ruskin, John

ALS to his publisher, requesting a hand-sketched cover for his 1882 "The Bible of Amiens", 1st (and only) part of his projected "Our Fathers Have Told Us" series

Price: $750.00

Description:
(1819-1900) Leading English Victorian era art critic and patron, artist, prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, botany, literature, education, and political economy, and penned essays, treatises, poetry, lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and a fairy tale. His early elaborate writing style on art was later superseded by plainer language to communicate his ideas more effectively. His writing emphasized connections between nature, art and society. He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, architectural structures and ornamentation. His ideas and concerns are widely recognized as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft. Ruskin first came to wide attention with the 1st volume of "Modern Painters" (1843), an extended essay in defense of J. M. W. Turner's work, arguing that the artist's chief role is "truth to nature". From the 1850s he championed the Pre-Raphaelites, influenced by his ideas. His work increasingly focused on social and political issues, with "Unto This Last" (1860, 1862) marking the shift in emphasis. In 1869, Ruskin became 1st Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing. He began his monthly "letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain", published as "Fors Clavigera" (1871–84). He developed principles underlying his ideal society and founded the Guild of St. George which still exists. In the July 1877 letter of "Fors Clavigera", Ruskin attacked paintings by James McN. Whistler at the Grosvenor Gallery. He found fault with "Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket", and accused Whistler of "ask[ing] two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face". Whistler filed a libel suit and won in 1878; the jury awarded damages of only 1 farthing, court costs split between both parties. Ruskin's were paid by public subscription; Whistler was bankrupted within 6 months. The episode tarnished Ruskin's reputation, however, and may have accelerated his mental decline. He continued to travel, studying European landscapes, buildings and art. Ruskin embraced emerging literary forms, the travel guide (and gallery guide), writing new works and adapting old ones. "The Stones of Venice" was revised, edited and issued in a new 1879 "Travelers’ Edition". He directed his readers, would-be travelers, to look with his cultural gaze at the landscapes, buildings and art of France and Italy: "Mornings in Florence" (1875–77), "The Bible of Amiens" (1880–85, a close study of its sculpture and a wider history), "St Mark’s Rest" (1877–84) and "A Guide to the Principal Pictures in ... Venice" (1877). His last great work was his autobiography, "Praeterita" (1885–89). He had a complete collapse on his final tour in 1888. Architects such as Le Corbusier, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Gropius used Ruskin's ideas in their work; writers as diverse as Wilde, Chesterton, Belloc, Eliot, Yeats and Pound also felt his influence. 7 x 4 1/2 ALS "Every Faithfully & obliged/yrs JR", no place, no date (Sept. 1881 penciled on verso), likely to his publisher George Allen. Ruskin writes: "Can you be getting a cover for the Amiens chapter, like mornings in Florence-lettered/THE BIBLE OF AMIENS/CHAP. IV/ INTERPRETATIONS/JOHN RUSKIN'(TRAVELLER'S ABSTRACT)./ Every Faithfully & obliged/yrs JR." Possibly the last page of a longer letter but complete in itself. "The Bible at Amiens" (1882) was to be the 1st in a series entitled "Our Fathers Have Told Us, Sketches of the history of christendom for boys and girls who have been held at its fonts ", but Ruskin abandoned the series after the 1st volume. It was a special travelers' edition to serve as guide to the cathedral. Six years after Ruskin's death, Marcel Proust (1871-1922) published his translation, "La Bible d'Amiens" which, in addition to the translation, included a long preface and copious notes.

Condition: Very good, 2 mail folds, 2 tiny pin holes top left corner
Type:Letter






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