RUSKIN (JOHN) Autograph letter signed ("J Ruskin"), to "Dear Mrs Stone", discussing work copying illuminated manuscripts, no place or date [c.1854-6]

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Lot 103
RUSKIN (JOHN)
Autograph letter signed ("J Ruskin"), to "Dear Mrs Stone", discussing work copying illuminated manuscripts, no place or date [c.1854-6]

Sold for £ 1,000 (US$ 1,246) inc. premium
RUSKIN (JOHN)
Autograph letter signed ("J Ruskin"), to "Dear Mrs Stone", discussing work copying illuminated manuscripts ("...All are copies from M.SS. except those of Swans design, so marked/ The pale coloured ones are memoranda merely, by Miss Fall – yellow for Gold – pale blue for deep blue. The pretty little branching page is copied by Miss Fall from my best 14th century missal – countess of Navarres – the others are copied by my assistant from MSS. at Edinburgh, & in Brit. Mus...") and concluding "I hope this good news from the Crimea will bring illumination into vogue in more ways than one – God be thanked for it"; with autograph envelope (hand delivered), 2 pages, 8vo, no place or date [c.1854-6]

Footnotes

  • 'COPIED BY MISS FALL FROM MY BEST 14TH CENTURY MISSAL': Ruskin gave three lectures on illuminated manuscripts in November and December of 1854 in which he drew upon examples of mediaeval manuscripts to illustrate his principles of design, reports of which, published in The Builder and elsewhere, greatly encouraged William Morris, Edward Burne Jones and others of his younger admirers in their study of illumination (see Evelyn J. Phimister, John Ruskin, William Morris, and the Illuminated Manuscript, William Morris Society, online publication). Twenty-five letters by Ruskin to Miss Fall, written between c.1850 and 1875, are held in the Ruskin Library, Lancaster University.

    Part of The Book of Hours of Yolande of Navarre is among the Ruskin teaching collection at the Ashmolean Museum Oxford: 'The manuscript (together with the Psalter and Hours of Isabelle of France, also in the Teaching Collection) was damaged when in the collection of John Boykett Jarman... It was presumably still dismembered following its immersion when it was acquired by Ruskin, although Backhouse notes that Jarman may well have employed William Charles Wing (active 1835-1860) to repair and, in some cases, retouch his damaged manuscripts. Ruskin described the manuscript as 'in my own possession' in volume III of "Modern Painters", published in 1856... Out of 176 leaves, Ruskin placed 13 in the Drawing School (none of them containing full-page miniatures), and gave 24 others away... Pages from the manuscript are first listed in the Teaching Collection in 1878, when Ruskin included one unidentified leaf from the book in his rearrangement of the Rudimentary Series, as no. 12. It was accompanied by a copy he had made of the folio and a water-colour of a spray of myrtle (both in frame no. 11, the copy later moved to no. 172 in the Supplementary Cabinet), "in order to show the difference between illumination and painting"... A page from the manuscript (although not one of those in the Oxford collections) was reproduced as pl. 9 in vol. III of Modern Painters... as an illustration of "Botany of the 14th Century": Ruskin considered it one of "the most graceful examples I have ever seen of the favourite decoration at the period, commonly known as the 'Ivy-leaf' pattern"' (see the ruskin.ashmolean.org website, under object/OXFBL.Dep.a.1.Y.03).
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