Dating from 1871, when John Ruskin first opened his School of Drawing, the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art has enjoyed a variety of guises, and a developing reputation. As Oxford’s first Slade Professor, Ruskin intended to develop a course for the University leading to a degree in art. Armed with a teaching collection of more than 800 watercolours and drawings and more than 400 prints, including works by Dürer, Tintoretto and J. M. W. Turner, the school was originally housed in the University Galleries. The school continued its work in what became the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, moving to its current High Street site in 1975. Ruskin’s dream of establishing a Bachelor of Fine Art degree was achieved in 1978, and this became the present honours degree in 1992. The Ruskin enjoys a special relationship with Oxford’s Department of the History of Art, which welcomed its first BA students in 2004, and with many other parts of the University, including the School of Anatomy, the Department of Engineering Science, the Institute of Archaeology and numerous museums. The rapport with Modern Art Oxford (MAO) is also extremely positive and Ruskin students have staged their own exhibitions and been involved in a number of projects with MAO.
The Department is not open to the public.