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The subject, John Ruskin, is regarded as Britain’s greatest, most influential, radical, indeed subversive, pundit on aesthetics and ethics. He called the painter, Collingwood, his aide-de-camp.
Ruskin sits in patient resignation, awaiting death, in his favourite chair in his library. The roses reference The Guild of St George (Ruskin saw himself as St George, slaying the ‘dragon’ of industrialised Capitalism, and thus rescuing England from environmental and moral pollution), and Ruskin’s doomed love for Rose la Touche. The pen has a special cork handle, made to Ruskin’s own ergonomic design.
oil on canvas
H 91.5 x W 71 cm
gift from the artist, 1901