Nov 17 2011
Louise Pullen, curator of the Ruskin Collection, on the new works which went on show at the Millennium Gallery this week.
We’ve just opened the doors to the Ruskin Collection after a re-display this week. New displays fill all the cases and there are some fresh works on the walls too.
The ever-popular flamingo might now have gone back to roost (a big thank you to the Natural History team for its loan) but there are some exciting new objects to see instead. Amongst the displays is a 1000-year old manuscript – despite its age we know the monastery it comes from by its colourful decoration. There are more bug and beetle illustrations by the supremely talented Edward Donovan, one of my favourite artists in Ruskin’s collection. Various drawings of griffins, dragons and basilisks now can be displayed again after a programme of conservation. But an old favourite, Ruskin’s own watercolour of a peacock’s breast feather will be on display still for a few more months.
The re-display is part of a bi-annual rotation of the Ruskin Collection displays. With each rotation we will reveal different works from the collection and different areas of John Ruskin’s interest and research. The displays this time look at natural history illustration, Ruskin’s hero, JMW Turner and Ruskin’s fascination for griffins, grotesques and other fearsome creatures. We also have a case devoted to his magnificent mineral collection.
We are particularly pleased that so many of the large objects that had not been exhibited for over 10 years are now on display. Our new cases, a legacy of our major refurbishment programme of the gallery earlier in the year, are big enough to take some of the collection’s massive but exquisitely illustrated books and manuscripts, which were always a hit in our ‘behind the scenes’ tours and handling sessions, but due to their size rarely get a chance to shine within the displays.
The next re-display has already been booked for early July 2012 - come and see what's changed and watch this space for future developments!