The Ruskin Library houses the Whitehouse Collection, the single largest collection of Ruskin material in the world. Formed by John Howard Whitehouse (1873-1955), educationalist, Liberal Member of Parliament and former Secretary of the Ruskin Society of Birmingham, it is now the responsibility of the Ruskin Foundation and housed at Lancaster University.
As well as over 2000 pictures by John Ruskin and his associates, the collection contains 29 volumes of Ruskin’s Diaries and over 8000 manuscripts, including many unpublished letters. As well as a comprehensive holding of books by and about Ruskin, there are 350 books from his library.
The building, itself work of art, was designed in 1995 by Sir Richard Mac Cormac to reflect Ruskin’s fascination with Venice and Tuscany. Surrounded by meadow and reached by a causeway it is a metaphor for Ruskin’s Venice. The interior contrasts with the stark exterior, with ochre walls and exposed timber beams, and a ‘Treasury’ rising through the full height of the building, encased in an oak frame with panels of red Venetian plaster.
Our gallery space hosts a changing series of exhibitions of Ruskin’s work and that of his contemporaries, usually drawn from the collection. The Reading Room on the ground floor is open to those engaged in research on Ruskin and related subjects.
Please be aware that the pictures seen in 'Street View' are not on permanent display and may not be available to view when you visit.