Saturday 17 November – ‘Ruskin The Great Victorian’ Day School


Click here to download a printable booking form

The Day School will begin at 9.30am with coffee and a Danish. The morning lectures will begin at approximately 10.30am. We will then have a break followed by a lecture before lunch. Lunch will be served at approximately 12.30pm. In the afternoon we shall enjoy two further lectures before finishing with tea and biscuits at 3.30pm.

Chair: Rita McLean

Rita McLean is a Museums and Heritage Consultant. She has worked in the museums and heritage sector throughout her career in a range of curatorial, museum development and senior management roles. She was Director of the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery from 2004 until 2012, and prior to this, a member of BMAG’s senior management team with responsibility for the management and development of the service’s historic house museums and sites.

How Ruskin Changed Proust’s Life: From Dilettante to Great Writer

One autumn day in 1899, 28-year-old Marcel Proust, then a Parisian dilettante, dependent on pocket money from his wealthy, indulgent parents, walked into the Bibliothèque Nationale in the rue Vivienne. There he discovered chapter six, in translation, of Ruskin’s The Seven Lamps of Architecture. He could not stop reading the work, and from that time forth nothing mattered to Proust but the work of “that great man”. He was so “intoxicated” and spellbound by Ruskin that he made dramatic changes to his life and found his vocation as a writer. In this richly illustrated talk Cynthia Gamble explains how this happened and tells the amazing story.

Dr Cynthia Gamble is Honorary Research Fellow, University of Exeter, and former Chairman of the Ruskin Society. Her interdisciplinary writing focuses on Marcel Proust, John Ruskin, The Belle Époque, Victorian writers and related areas. She is the author of several books including Proust as Interpreter of Ruskin: The Seven Lamps of Translation (2002), Insights into Ruskin’s Northern French Gothic (2002), John Ruskin, Henry James and the Shropshire Lads (2008); and co-author of Ruskin-Turner: Dessins et voyages en Picardie romantique (2003) and of L’Oeil de Ruskin: l’exemple de la Bourgogne (2011). She has published extensively, and has contributed chapters to the Cambridge Companion to Proust (2001) and to the Cambridge Companion to John Ruskin (2015), and fourteen entries to the Dictionnaire Marcel Proust (2004, second edition 2014). Her most recent book Wenlock Abbey 1857-1919: A Shropshire Country House and the Milnes Gaskell Family (2015) is a socio-historico-literary study based on unpublished archive material.

Drawing as Seeing: Ruskin Today

Dr Tom Jones looks at the relevance today of ‘The Elements of Drawing’. He considers how some of Ruskin’s ideas can be used in encouraging people to “make marks with meaning” as a way of enhancing wellbeing. Reference will be made to the significance of a drawing project recently completed by Creative Health in conjunction with Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Ruskin and J. H. Chamberlain

Joe Holyoak will discuss Ruskin’s definitions of gothic in ‘The Nature of Gothic’, illustrating them both with some medieval examples and with J. H. Chamberlain’s work both at the BMI and the reference library on Paradise Street, extrapolating Ruskin’s criteria to see how they can be applied to architecture of the twentieth century.


Ruskin and the Daguerreotype

Stephen Wildman is Emeritus Professor of History of Art at Lancaster University, and was formerly Director of the Ruskin Library and Research Centre. Previously he was Deputy Keeper of Fine Art at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Curator of Prints and Drawings. This talk will consider Ruskin as an early enthusiast for daguerreotype photography, and his use of it in the study of landscape and European architecture between 1845 and 1858.

Ruskin, Science and Oxford

John Holmes, Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture, the University of Birmingham will give this lecture.

Image: George Richmond and Francis Holl



9.30am – 3.30pm
£40/£37 for Members of the BMI/£35 for Students
(includes lunch and refreshments)

Additional information


£40 Standard, £37 BMI Member, £35 Student


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Saturday 17 November – ‘Ruskin The Great Victorian’ Day School”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *