Inscribed by Ruskin “Best way of studying Trees, with / a view to knowledge of their leafage. / Young Shoots of the Oak and Ash, in Spring. / J.R. 1847. (Unfinished)”
Ruskin spent a short holiday in the Lake District in the spring of 1847, staying at the Salutation Inn, Ambleside. He may have devoted time to this, one of his most elaborate surviving pen and ink drawings, which has been formerly (but not convincingly) identified as a lane at Ambleside, largely on the evidence of the ‘Spring’ date in the unusually precise inscription. The extremely detailed attention to leaf, bark and creeper foreshadows such future writings as The Elements of Drawing (1857) and ‘Of Leaf Beauty’, Part VI of the last volume of Modern Painters (1860).