Ruskin made dozens of large-scale drawings like this during the 1840-41 tour to Italy with his parents, basing his style on the work of the topographical artist David Roberts. In an unpublished draft of his autobiography Praeterita, he described the use of “flat grey washes, giving the forms of shade with precision and its gradations with delicacy, and finally touched, for light, with whitish yellow. … The drawings made on this principle satisfied myself, for the first time, and gave much pleasure to most people interested in the scenes they represented – such of them as I possess remain to this day delightful to me.” Careful observation reveals considerable, but delicate, use of highlighting in white opaque bodycolour, especially on the window openings and sculptural details.


  • Title: Salerno
  • Creator: John Ruskin (1819-1900)
  • Date Created: 1841
  • Location Created: Salerno, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 34.8 x 49.5 cm
  • Rights: © The Ruskin, Lancaster University
  • Medium: Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour on grey-green paper

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps