John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, myth, literature, education and political economy, his writing styles and literary forms were varied. He penned essays and treatises and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and a fairy tale, he made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, birds and architectural structures and ornamentation. The elaborate style that characterised his earliest writing on art gave way in time to plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasised the connections between nature and society, he was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century and up to the First World War. After a period of relative decline, his reputation has improved since the 1960s with the publication of numerous academic studies of his work. Today, his ideas and concerns are recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism and craft.
Ruskin first came to widespread attention with the first volume of Modern Painters, an extended essay in defence of the work of J. M. W. Turner in which he argued that the principal role of the artist is "truth to nature." From the 1850s, he championed the Pre-Raphaelites. His work focused on social and political issues. Unto This Last marked the shift in emphasis. In 1869, Ruskin became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing. In 1871, he began his monthly "letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain", published under the title Fors Clavigera. In the course of this complex and personal work, he developed the principles underlying his ideal society; as a result, he founded the Guild of an organisation that endures today. Ruskin was the only child of first cousins, his father, John James Ruskin, was a sherry and wine importer, founding partner and de facto business manager of Ruskin and Domecq. John James was born and brought up in Edinburgh, Scotland, to a mother from Glenluce and a father from Hertfordshire.
His wife, Margaret Cock, was the daughter of a publican in Croydon. She had joined the Ruskin household when she became companion to Catherine. John James had hoped to practice law, was articled as a clerk in London, his father, John Thomas Ruskin, described as a grocer, was an incompetent businessman. To save the family from bankruptcy, John James, whose prudence and success were in stark contrast to his father, took on all debts, settling the last of them in 1832. John James and Margaret were engaged in 1809, but opposition to the union from John Thomas, the problem of his debts, delayed the couple's wedding, they married, without celebration, in 1818. John James died on 3 March 1864 and is buried in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist, Croydon. Ruskin was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, south of St Pancras railway station, his childhood was shaped by the contrasting influences of his father and mother, both of whom were fiercely ambitious for him. John James Ruskin helped to develop his son's Romanticism.
They shared a passion for the works of Byron and Walter Scott. They visited Scott's home, Abbotsford, in 1838. Margaret Ruskin, an Evangelical Christian, more cautious and restrained than her husband, taught young John to read the Bible from beginning to end, to start all over again, committing large portions to memory, its language and parables had a profound and lasting effect on his writing. Ruskin's childhood was spent from 1823 at 28 Herne Hill, near the village of Camberwell in South London, he had few friends of his own age, but it was not the friendless and toyless experience he claimed it was in his autobiography, Praeterita. He was educated at home by his parents and private tutors, from 1834 to 1835 he attended the school in Peckham run by the progressive Evangelical, Thomas Dale. Ruskin heard Dale lecture in 1836 at King's College, where Dale was the first Professor of English Literature. Ruskin went on to enroll and complete his studies at King's College, where he prepared for Oxford under Dale's tutelage.
Ruskin was influenced by the extensive and privileged travels he enjoyed in his childhood. It augmented his education, he sometimes accompanied his father on visits to business clients at their country houses, exposing him to English landscapes and paintings. Family tours took them to relatives in Perth, Scotland; as early as 1825, the family visited Belgium. Their continental tours became ambitious in scope, so that in 1833 they visited Strasbourg, Milan and Turin, places to which Ruskin returned, he developed his lifelong love of the Alps, in 1835 he first visited Venice, that'Paradise of cities' that provided the subject and symbolism of much of his work. The tours provided Ruskin with the opportunity to record his impressions of nature, he composed elegant if conventional poetry, some of, published in Friendship's Offering. His early notebooks
Eglantyne Jebb, was a British social reformer and founder of the Save the Children organisation. She was born in 1876 in Ellesmere and grew up on her family's estate; the Jebbs were a well-off family and had a strong social conscience and commitment to public service. Her mother, Eglantyne Louisa Jebb, had founded the Home Arts and Industries Association, to promote Arts and Crafts among young people in rural areas. Another sister, Dorothy Frances Jebb, who married the Labour MP Charles Roden Buxton, campaigned against the demonisation of the German people after the war, she served as a faculty member at Wellesley College in 1929, teaching courses in English literature. She was known as the "White Flame" because the flame of her dedicated love for children in distress burned to a white heat of passion all her life. Having studied history at Lady Margaret Hall, Jebb trained to become a school teacher, but a year's experience as a primary school teacher, at St. Peter's Junior School in Marlborough, convinced her that this was not her vocation, though it increased her awareness of the difficulties and widespread nature of poverty faced by young children.
She moved to Cambridge to look after her sick mother. There she became involved in the Charity Organisation Society, which aimed to bring a modern scientific approach to charity work; this led her to carry out an extensive research project into conditions in the city, in 1906 she published a book, Cambridge, a Study in Social Questions based on her research. The Cambridge Independent Press, a weekly Liberal-supporting newspaper, published a number of articles covering Eglantyne's campaigning and political activities in Cambridge in the run up to the First World War, she was appointed to the Education Committee of Cambridge Borough Council in 1907, although in her first year only attended 13 of a possible 31 meetings. She was on the committee of the newly formed League for Physical Education and Improvement, but resigned citing pressures from other workloads. Under the watchful eye of Florence Ada Keynes Eglantyne and Florence's daughter Margaret set up and ran the Boy's employment registry, shortly followed by a similar one for girls.
There is now a Blue Plaque above 82 Regent Street. In 1913 she was asked to undertake a journey to Macedonia on behalf of the Macedonian Relief Fund, she returned shortly before the First World War broke out, soon was drawn into a project organised by Dorothy, who had begun importing European newspapers – including ones from Germany and Austria-Hungary for which a special licence had to be obtained from the government – and publishing extracts in English in the Cambridge Magazine, which revealed that everyday life in the enemy countries was far worse than government propaganda suggested. As the war was coming to an end, the German and Austro-Hungarian economies came near to collapse, it was clear to Dorothy and Eglantyne that the children of these countries were suffering appallingly from the effects of the war and the Allied blockade, which continued when an armistice was signed. A pressure group, the Fight the Famine Council, was set up in 1919 to persuade the British government to end the blockade.
Soon, the focus shifted to organising relief. On 15 April 1919, the Council set up a fund to raise money for the German and Austrian children – the Save the Children Fund. Unexpectedly, this organisation, launched at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 19 May 1919 raised a large sum of money from the British public, officials were despatched to organise relief work; the success of the Fund led Eglantyne and Dorothy to attempt to set up an international movement for children. The International Save the Children Union was founded in Geneva in 1920, with the British Save the Children Fund and the Swedish Rädda Barnen as leading members. In London, it was now Eglantyne, in charge, she ensured that the Fund adopted the professional approach she had learnt in the Charity Organisation Society. A manager, Lewis Golden, was recruited to put the organisation on a businesslike foundation, he adopted the innovative – and controversial – approach of taking full-page advertisements in national newspapers. As the problems in central Europe receded, there was a new focus of the Fund's attention – a refugee crisis in Greece and the surrounding areas, a consequence of the continuing conflict in the area.
In 1921, just as this situation was coming under control, there was a new and bigger emergency. As a consequence of the devastation of war and civil war, due to the disastrous economic policies of the Bolshevik government, the people of Soviet Russia faced a famine as crops failed. A new fundraising effort brought a surge of donations, a Save the Children team was dispatched to the city of Saratov, one of the main famine centres. In all the work the Fund did, a major element in Eglantyne's thinking was the importance of a planned, research-based approach. In 1923, when the Russian relief effort was coming to an end, the Fund's income was reducing, she turned to another issue – that of children's rights, she headed to a meeting of the International Union, with a plan for a Children's Charter. The result was a short and clear document – drafted by Eglantyne – which asserted the rights of children and the duty of the international community to put children's rights in the forefront of planning.
The Declaration of the Rights of the Child, or the Declaration of Geneva as it came to be known, was adopted a year b
Arts and Crafts movement
The Arts and Crafts movement was an international trend in the decorative and fine arts that began in Britain and flourished in Europe and America between about 1880 and 1920, emerging in Japan in the 1920s as the Mingei movement. It stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms, used medieval, romantic, or folk styles of decoration, it advocated economic and social reform and was anti-industrial. It had a strong influence on the arts in Europe until it was displaced by Modernism in the 1930s, its influence continued among craft makers and town planners long afterwards; the term was first used by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson at a meeting of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1887, although the principles and style on which it was based had been developing in England for at least 20 years, it was inspired by the ideas of architect Augustus Pugin, writer John Ruskin, designer William Morris. The movement developed earliest and most in the British Isles and spread across the British Empire and to the rest of Europe and America.
It was a reaction against the perceived impoverishment of the decorative arts at the time and the conditions in which they were produced. The Arts and Crafts movement emerged from the attempt to reform design and decoration in mid-19th century Britain, it was a reaction against a perceived decline in standards that the reformers associated with machinery and factory production. Their critique was sharpened by the items that they saw in the Great Exhibition of 1851 which they considered to be excessively ornate and ignorant of the qualities of the materials used. Art historian Nikolaus Pevsner writes that the exhibits showed "ignorance of that basic need in creating patterns, the integrity of the surface", as well as displaying "vulgarity in detail". Design reform began with Exhibition organizers Henry Cole, Owen Jones, Matthew Digby Wyatt, Richard Redgrave, all of whom deprecated excessive ornament and impractical or badly made things; the organizers were "unanimous in their condemnation of the exhibits."
Owen Jones, for example, complained that "the architect, the upholsterer, the paper-stainer, the weaver, the calico-printer, the potter" produced "novelty without beauty, or beauty without intelligence." From these criticisms of manufactured goods emerged several publications which set out what the writers considered to be the correct principles of design. Richard Redgrave's Supplementary Report on Design analyzed the principles of design and ornament and pleaded for "more logic in the application of decoration." Other works followed in a similar vein, such as Wyatt's Industrial Arts of the Nineteenth Century, Gottfried Semper's Wissenschaft, Industrie und Kunst, Ralph Wornum's Analysis of Ornament, Redgrave's Manual of Design, Jones's Grammar of Ornament. The Grammar of Ornament was influential, liberally distributed as a student prize and running into nine reprints by 1910. Jones declared that ornament "must be secondary to the thing decorated", that there must be "fitness in the ornament to the thing ornamented", that wallpapers and carpets must not have any patterns "suggestive of anything but a level or plain".
A fabric or wallpaper in the Great Exhibition might be decorated with a natural motif made to look as real as possible, whereas these writers advocated flat and simplified natural motifs. Redgrave insisted that "style" demanded sound construction before ornamentation, a proper awareness of the quality of materials used. "Utility must have precedence over ornamentation." However, the design reformers of the mid 19th century did not go as far as the designers of the Arts and Crafts Movement. They were more concerned with ornamentation than construction, they had an incomplete understanding of methods of manufacture, they did not criticize industrial methods as such. By contrast, the Arts and Crafts movement was as much a movement of social reform as design reform, its leading practitioners did not separate the two; some of the ideas of the movement were anticipated by A. W. N. Pugin, a leader in the Gothic revival in architecture. For example, he advocated truth to material and function, as did the Arts and Crafts artists.
Pugin articulated the tendency of social critics to compare the faults of modern society with the Middle Ages, such as the sprawling growth of cities and the treatment of the poor—a tendency that became routine with Ruskin and the Arts and Crafts movement. His book Contrasts drew examples of bad modern buildings and town planning in contrast with good medieval examples, his biographer Rosemary Hill notes that he "reached conclusions in passing, about the importance of craftsmanship and tradition in architecture that it would take the rest of the century and the combined efforts of Ruskin and Morris to work out in detail." She describes the spare furnishings which he specified for a building in 1841, "rush chairs, oak tables", as "the Arts and Crafts interior in embryo." The Arts and Crafts philosophy was derived in large measure from John Ruskin's social criticism, which related the moral and social health of a nation to the qualities of its architecture and to the nature of work. Ruskin considered the sort of mechanized production and division of labour, created in the industrial revolution to be "servile labour", he thought that a healthy and moral society required independent workers who designed the things that they made.
He believed factory-made works to be "dishonest," and that handwork and craftsmanship merged dignity with labor. His followers favoured craft production over industrial manufacture and were concerned about the loss
Mary Fraser Tytler
Mary Seton Fraser Tytler was a symbolist craftswoman and social reformer. Watts, née Fraser-Tyler, was born on 25 November 1849, in India, she was the daughter of Charles Edward Fraser Tytler of Balnain and Aldourie, who worked for the East India Company. She spent much of her youth in Scotland, where she was raised by her grandparents, settled in England in the 1860s. Early in 1870 she studied art in Dresden before enrolling at the South Kensington School of Art the same year. During 1872 and 1873 Tytler studied sculpture at the Slade School of Art, she became known as a portrait painter, was associated with Julia Margaret Cameron and the Freshwater community. There she met painter George Frederic Watts, at the age of 36, became his second wife on 20 November 1886 in Epsom, Surrey. Watts was President of the Godalming and District National Union of Women's Suffrage Society and she convened at least one women's suffrage meeting in Compton, Surrey. Watts died at her home, Limnerslease, in Compton on 6 September 1938.
Her remains are buried in the Watts Chapel. After her marriage, Watts worked in the fields of Celtic and Art Nouveau bas-reliefs, pottery and textiles, she co-founded the the Arts & Crafts Guild in Compton, Surrey. She designed and maintained the Watts Mortuary Chapel in Compton. Watts exhibited her work at The Woman's Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Watts, through the Home Arts and Industries Association, worked to create employment for rural communities through the preservation of handicrafts. During the execution of the Watts Mortuary Chapel, Watts trained workers in clay modelling, an initiative that led to the establishment of the Compton Potters' Guild in 1899, she was a firm believer in the idea that anyone given the opportunity could produce things of beauty and that everyone should have a craft within which they could express themselves creatively. She supported the revival of the Celtic style, the indigenous artistic expression of Scotland and Ireland.
In 1899, she was asked to design rugs in this style for the carpet company Alexander Morton & Co of Darvel, Liberty's main producer of furnishing fabrics. In cooperation with the Congested Districts Board, Morton had established a workshop in Donegal, Ireland, to employ local women who had little opportunity to earn a livelihood. Watts pioneered Liberty's Celtic style, with much of the imagery for the Celtic Revival carpets, book-bindings and textiles for Liberty & Co. being based on her earlier designs at the Watts Mortuary Chapel. In life, Watts wrote The Word in the Pattern, which details the use of symbols in the Watts Mortuary Chapel, completed a three-volume biography of her husband, Annals of an Artist's Life. Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice Barbara Coffey Bryant, "Watts, George Frederic", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004.
Charles Godfrey Leland
Charles Godfrey Leland was an American humorist and folklorist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated in Europe. Leland worked in journalism, travelled extensively, became interested in folklore and folk linguistics, he published articles on American and European languages and folk traditions. He worked in a wide variety of trades, achieved recognition as the author of the comic Hans Breitmann’s Ballads, fought in two conflicts, he wrote Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, which became a primary source text for Neopaganism half a century later. Leland was born to Charles Leland, a commission merchant, Charlotte Godfrey, on 15 August 1824 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his mother was a protegee of Hannah Adams. Leland believed he was descended from other illustrious antiquaries. Leland claimed to have been influenced as a baby by the presence of Lafayette, Nicolas Gouïn Dufief, a Swedish count who inspired Fredrika Bremer's best seller The Neighbours. Leland told a story that shortly after his birth, his nurse took him to the family attic and performed a ritual involving a Bible, a key, a knife, lighted candles and salt to ensure a long life as a "scholar and a wizard.
His biographers refer to this account as foreshadowing his interest in magic. A lifelong friend was a neighbour in childhood. A schoolmate was George B. McClellan. Leland's early education was in the United States, he attended college at Princeton University. During his schooling, he studied languages, wrote poetry, pursued a variety of other interests, including Hermeticism and the writings of Rabelais and Villon. After college, Leland went to Europe to continue his studies, first in Germany, at Heidelberg and Munich, in 1848 at the Sorbonne in Paris, he got involved in the French revolution that year, fighting at constructed barricades against the King's soldiers as a captain in the revolution. Leland returned to America after the money given to him by his father for travel had run out, passed the bar in Pennsylvania. Instead of practicing law, he instead began a career in journalism; as a journalist, Leland wrote for The Illustrated News in New York, the Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia and took on editorial duties for Graham's Magazine, the Philadelphia Press.
In 1856 Leland married Eliza Bella "Isabel" Fisher. Leland was an editor for the Continental Monthly, a pro-Union Army publication, he enlisted in the Union Army in 1863, fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Leland coined the term "emancipation" as an alternative to "abolition" to refer to the anti-slavery position. Leland returned to Europe in 1869, travelled eventually settling in London, his fame during his lifetime rested chiefly on his comic Hans Breitmann’s Ballads, written in a combination of broken English and German. In recent times his writings on pagan and Aryan traditions have eclipsed the now forgotten Breitmann ballads, influencing the development of Wicca and modern paganism. In his travels, he made a study of the Gypsies, on. Leland began to publish a number of books on ethnography and language, his writings on Algonquian and gypsy culture were part of the contemporary interest in pagan and Aryan traditions. Scholars have found. In his book The Algonquin Legends of New England Leland attempts to link Wabanki culture and history to the Norse.
It has come to light that Leland altered some of those folk tales in order to lend credence to his theory. He erroneously claimed to have discovered "the fifth Celtic tongue": the form of Cant, spoken among Irish Travellers, which he named Shelta. Leland became president of the English Gypsy Lore Society in 1888. Eleven years Godfrey produced Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches containing the traditional beliefs of Italian witchcraft as conveyed him in a manuscript provided by a woman named Maddalena, whom he refers to as his "witch informant." This remains his most influential book. Aradia's accuracy has been disputed, used by others as a study of witch lore in 19th century Italy. Leland was a pioneer of art and design education, becoming an important influence on the Arts and Crafts movement. In his memoirs he wrote, "The story of what is to me by far the most interesting period of my life remains to be written; this embraces an account of my labour for many years in introducing Industrial Art as a branch of education in schools" He was involved in a series of books on industrial arts and crafts, including a title he co-authored in 1876 with Thomas Bolas, entitled "Pyrography or burnt-wood etching".
He was, more the founder and first director of the Public School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia. This originated as a school to teach crafts to disadvantaged children and became known when it was praised by Oscar Wilde, who predicted his friend would be "recognised and honoured as one of the great pioneers and leaders of the art of the future." The Home Arts and Industries Association was founded in imitation of this initiative. Leland translated the collective works of the German Romanticist Heinrich Heine, poems by Joseph Victor von Scheffel into English, he translated Eichendorff's novella Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts to English as Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing, published in New York in 1866 by Leypohlt & Holt. His biography was written