Historical information

This framed copy of a sketch of John Ruskin comes from the original steel plate engraving dating from about 1845. John Ruskin (1819-1900) was a notable English writer, philosopher, art critic and polymath in the Victorian era. He was the first Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University and was a prolific writer interested in the connection between nature, art and society, anticipating the more modern interest in environmental and sustainability issues. This framed item is from the collection of the old Warrnambool Museum which was first established in 1871 by the Warrnambool Mechanics' Institute under the curatorship of a local policeman, Joseph Archibald. This first museum faded away but was revived in 1883 by Joseph Archibald in his retirement years. The Museum continued as part of the Mechanics' Institute until 1963 as an important and much-admired institution. Most of the collection was lost over the years but some items remain, housed at the Warrnambool Art Gallery, Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and the Warrnambool and District Historical Society, with the John Ruskin item being part of the latter group's collection.


This item is of considerable interest, firstly because it comes from the collection of the old Warrnambool Museum and secondly because it shows the local interest in the 19th century of the notable English writer and philosopher, John Ruskin.

Physical description

This is a copy of a steel plate engraving, a black and white sketch of the head and upper body of John Ruskin. It is enclosed in a cut glass frame with a red cardboard backing attached by metal clips. A section of the backing is torn off and there is damage to the bottom part of the glass frame.

Inscriptions & markings

J. Ruskin