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would not long be able to work 1 and these efforts I he has made under
my frequent assurances that I should never be so captived by any
other man. Now I am under great fear that when he hears of my
present purchase, it will make him lose confidence in me, and cause
him discomfort which I wish I could avoid. If, therefore, I could
diminish the quantity, and retain a few only of the most characteristic,
I should be glad.

Now I feel the ungraciousness of saying this to you, but yet the
purchase was so thoroughly of my own seeking and determination,
in spite of all you could say, that I trust you will not see the smallest
ground for finding fault with any one but me. I thought also that I
should have hurt your feelings, if I had treated directly with Hogarth
otherwise I would have wished not to trouble you on the subject ;
but I find the nervousness increasing upon me not that I think less
of the drawings than I did, but that several circumstances have since
taken place, which you shall know of hereafter, which make me feel
unwilling to ask my father for this sum at present to be so spent.
Now, if I may treat with Hogarth, pray do not give one further
thought to the affair the purchase was entirely and is completely
mine, and but for you I should probably have paid 150 instead of
100 ; but if you would rather that I should not speak directly to
Hogarth, I wish you would see for me on what terms he would either
receive back the portfolio, and also let me retain four of the Larger
Drawings, the Horse, the owls, the Newton, and the Nebuchadnezzar
or five including the Satan and Eve, and the Goblin Huntsman,

1 [The reference is probably to the commissions which Ruskin's father allowed
him to give to Turner in 1842 or 1843 : see Vol. XIII. pp. 478-484.]



1843] TURNER'S PERSPECTIVE 83

and Search for the Body of Harold. 1 Forgive me this. I do assure
you I love the memory of your friend, and I shall love these drawings
and never part with them, but I am afraid of giving pain to my
Father. My hope is that you will leave it to ME to treat with Hogarth
at once but I thought you would have felt it unkind. I think it
would have been wrong taking your feelings towards Blake into con-
sideration to have done so without telling you. Remember me most
faithfully to Mrs. Richmond, and believe me, my dear Richmond, ever
most affectionately yours, J. RusxiN. 2



To the Rev. W. L. BROWN

[27 Nov., 1843.]

MY DEAR SIR, I am sure I am very much obliged to the wet day
for procuring me another letter. I think you would wish me to
answer those parts of it which appear to me combatable, and there-
fore I will risk the infliction of more bad writing upon you, though
I am sure you must by this time be sufficiently tired of hearing the
name of my favourite artist (I wish, by-the-bye, I could pronounce it 3 ) ;
but I want so much to have you on my side that I cannot but do
all in my power, as you admit the truth of my principles, to prove
the truth of their application. . . . 4

Now, as regards Turner, I should like to see the points in which
you feel falseness of perspective. 5 I will not say he is immaculate, but
wherever he errs, he errs, I think, not palpably certainly not in
ignorance but to obtain some particular grace or harmony of line,
in places where he thinks the error will not be detected. Now, the
old masters err in pure, hopeless ignorance. Claude draws a pillar so
I can't draw it bad enough and a square tower so [rough sketches].
Mais n'importe. Perspective is mere spelling, not to be talked of in
questions of art.

I think when you see the second part of Modern Painters you

1 [At some later date or dates Ruskin disposed of his drawings by William
Blake. In Gilchrist's Life, new ed. (1880), vol. i. p. 54, he is mentioned as owning
the original sketch of the design called " Let Loose the Dogs of War."]

' [A subsequent note shows that the matter was arranged :

" DEAR RICHMOND, Best thanks for your kind note. I have spoken to
Hogarth, who says he will think over it, and arrange it to my satisfaction.
After I hear his proposals I will make mine. Remember me to Mrs. Rich-
mond, Mary, and Julia. Ever most affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN."]

3 [For Ruskin's peculiar pronunciation, see Vol. XX. p. xxiv.]

4 [The omitted passage refers to an imprinted play by Mr. Brown which had
been sent for Ruskin's criticism.]

5 [See Vol. III. p. 607 for the passage in Modern Painters which Mr. Brown
presumably had criticised.]

xxxvi. c



84 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I

will be quite satisfied with the importance therein given to "unity"
as a sine quci non in art. 1 But you know unity does not mean
** singleness w of object, but binding together of objects, and I believe
I shall be able to prove that no man ever possessed this great quality
in a higher degree than my favourite ; nevertheless, there are cases
in which unity will destroy particular impressions at which he is
aiming, and then, in some degree, he abandons it. As to the pro-
priety of making such impressions an end of art, and choosing subjects
for example, like the view of Edinburgh you name,' 2 I think it pro-
ceeds from the habit of the artist to regard his works not as indivi-
dually perfect, but as, each, part of a great system illustrative of each
other. If a man is working for ideal beauty, and desirous of making a
particular picture as charming as possible, he should get to work as
Claude does : take some rocks, and some water, and some trees, and
some houses there must be some of all and put them together, with
one tree very principal and one piece of water very principal, and
a very calm sky, and everything else rather dark than otherwise,
etc., etc. ; the recipe is as straightforward and simple as can be, and
the result certain, provided the power of manipulation be tolerable.
But this is not what nature does. Nature always has some parti-
cular lesson, some particular character, to impress and exhibit she
never makes olla podridas. In one place she exhibits rock character,
in another tree character, in another pastoral character, and all her
details are thrown in with reference to the particular influence or spirit
of the place. Now, Turner takes it for granted that more is to
be learned by taking her lessons individually and working out their
separate intents, and thus bringing together a mass of various impres-
sions which may all work together as a great whole, fully detailed in
each part, than by cooking up his information in the sort of " potage
universelle " of Claude; or rather for this is paying Claude too high a
compliment he conceives it to be more fitting for man to receive all
nature's lessons those which he likes, and those which he doesn't
than to choose for himself and repeat one for ever. Now, I am aware
of nothing in nature which Turner has not earnestly painted. Nothing
on the surface of the earth has either been rejected by him as too
little or shrunk from as too great. He has made a most careful study
(it is in the Liber Sttidionim) of cocks and hens on a dunghill, 3 of
dock leaves in a ditch, of broken stones by the roadside, of pollard

1 [Sec ch. vi. of section i. in the second volume of Modern Painters: Vol. IV.

pp. 02 *e7.]

1 [The view of Edinburgh engraved as an illustration of Scott's Poems.]

3 [In the Plate called "A Farm Yard": compare Modem Painters, vol. i.

(Vol. III. p. 2.%).]



1843] THE GENIUS OF TURNER 35

willows, of every tree or bush that grows in England, France, or Italy ;
of every kind of rock, of lakes, torrents, reedy rivers the Thames at
Putney, the Rhine at Schaffhausen, the river by the Isle of Dogs, and
the Bay of Naples, Richmond Hill, and Mount Etna, the chimneys at
Dudley, and Mount Vesuvius; sea at all times, in all places, on the
coast, and in the Atlantic muddy, clear, calm, disturbed, or in the
fury of the wildest tempest. You cannot name any element, object, or
effect you can name no time, no season, no incident of weather of
which I cannot name you a study, not accidentally or incidentally made,
but earnestly, and with reference to itself alone, and most laboriously.
Hence you are not to think whether such and such a subject was
adapted for a picture, but whether any good is to be got out of it,
whether there is any meaning in it, whether it has any bearing on
his great system ; and if so, there you are to look for the power of
the artist in making this unpromising but necessary part of his system
as beautiful as in the nature of things it is capable of being. Farther,
you are to look upon Turner as distinguished from the common painter
of familiar objects by his doing it only as part of a system. Thou-
sands of Dutch painters paint cocks and hens, but they do so habitu-
ally, and as cock and hen painters. Turner does so once once only
in order that he may know his subject thoroughly, and secure any
good, or any knowledge, or any lesson whatever, which there may be
in the forms of the birds.

So in the view of Edinburgh he desires to give you, not an ideal
scene, not a pleasant scene, but a Scotch scene. He wants to make
you feel that it is scattered, uncomfortable, vast, and windy. If he
had not scattered his sheep all over the hill, the size of it would not
have been expressed ; or if he had grouped them in a line, the com-
fortless, open, exposed character of the scene would have been lost.
Nay, little as you may feel it, these very sheep secure a species of
unity. Conceal them, and you will find that the dark hill separates
from the rest of the picture, as a moon-shaped mass, of which the
edge is unbroken. Put on the sheep again, and you will find that
the hill becomes united (or confused, if you like to call it so) with
the rest of the picture.

I think that whatever is worth contemplating in nature, and can
be contemplated without pain, is a good subject for the artist, and
that his powers may, and ought to be, exhibited upon it powers of
turning all he touches to gold but that, towards the close of his life,
he ought to devote himself to weaving out of the stores of his
accumulated knowledge, the ideal pictures which common artists fancy
they can produce when they are just fledged. Until he is forty, an



86 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [184*

artist ought to paint everything with intent to learn it; after forty,
with intent to teach it All this, however, is so far matter of taste
and opinion. Not so the question of colour. It is found invariably
that young and inexperienced artists use their colours pure, and yet
never make their pictures look bright they only look raic. Experienced
artists and masters of colour use their colours dead, and yet their
effect is dazzling. I am myself in the habit of using cobalt off the
cake, and yet I never can get my skies to look blue. Turner will
make a sky look bright which is painted with grey, yellow, and black
in it. There is another kind of fine colouring which is dependent on
the Intensity of the blue, and its qualities of transparency and depth.
This is Titian's quality, but even he cannot use colour pure except in
small spaces, or very dark. Deep crimsons and blues, provided they
are transparent, never look raw the only difficulty is to get them.
But in landscape where every hue is pale, the power of a colourist
and the excellence of a picture are entirely dependent on the vividness
of the effect gained with dim and mixed colour. Try : one of our
common and ignorant landscape painters will paint a distance in pure
cobalt, and not make it look blue ; Turner will make it look deep
blue with four hairVbreadths of colour. Every painter will assure you
of this being an attainment only of consummate art it is right
because it is nature. Distances, when you look at them, are not made
up of blue in parts they are blue only in effect.



1844

[In this year Raskin went with his parents to Switzerland (Vol. IV. p. xxii.),
and on his return continued his studies at home. Some letters to Samuel Prout,
Osborne Gordon, and Liddell, belonging to 1844, are given in Vol. III. pp. 602-
676; and a series to Edmund Oldfield, on French painted windows, in \ ol. XII.
pp. 435-446.]

To his FATHER

DENMARK HILL, Saturday two o'clock [April 28, 1844].

MY DEAREST FATHER, I have not time for a letter, as I have been
in town till now, and want to get a little work [done] but I may just
tell you what I have been about. At Sir R. I/s 1 there were: 1st,
Mr. Rogers; 2nd, Lord Northampton; 3rd, Lord Arundel ; 4th, Lord

1 [Sir Robert Harry Inglis (1786-18.5-5), M.I', for Oxford University 1829-18.54;
president of the Literary Club ; antiquary of the Royal Academy. For Ruskin's
acquaintance with him, see Vol. III. p. xliv. n. ; Vol. XIV. p. 18.]



1844] A DINNER PARTY 87

Mahon; 5th, R. M. Milnes; 6th, 7th, and 8th, two gentlemen whose
names I could not catch and a lady; and 9th, Sir J. Franklin, the
North Sea man. Monckton Milnes sat next me, and talked away most
pleasantly, asking me to come and see him ; of course I gave him my
own card, and as I was writing the address on it, Rogers called to
Milnes over the table. Sir R. said to Milnes, " Mr. Rogers is speak-
ing to you," and Rogers said in his dry voice, " Ask him for an-other."
Milnes gave him the one I had written, and I replaced it. After-
wards in the passage, Rogers came up to me and took my arm most
kindly. " I don't consider that you and I have met to-day " (he had
been on the other side and near the other end of the table) " will you
come and breakfast with me Tuesday at 10?" Of course I expressed
my gratitude, and then Lord Northampton came up and asked me to
come to his soiree this evening, saying he would send me cards for
the other nights. I said I could go, though I don't like soirees, but I
thought you would have been vexed if I had refused.

Then I went to Hopkinson's. 1 I saw the carriage which is precisely
what I want; but he wants 55 for the six months, which is certainly
too much, especially as the inside is very shabby. This would be an
advantage in another way for drawback. I said I would write to
you and let him know, but perhaps if you have time you would kindly
write and tell him what you think about it. Perhaps I had better ask
somewhere else.

Pray take care of yourself this bitter weather; my hands are cold,
so that I write worse than usual.



To SAMUEL ROGERS 2

DENMARK HILL, CAMBERWELL, 4th May [1844].

My DEAR MR. ROGERS, I cannot tell you how much pleasure you
gave yesterday, . . . yet, to such extravagance men's thoughts can
reach, I do not think I can be quite happy unless you permit me to
express my sense of your kindness to you here under my father's roof.
Alas ! we have not even the upland lawn, far less the cliff' with foliage
hung, or wizard stream ; 3 but we have the spring around us, we have

1 [The carriage-maker in Long Acre : see Praeterita, Vol. XXXV. p. 106.]

2 [From Rogers and his Contemporaries, by P. W. Clayden, 1889, vol. ii. pp. 301-
S0'2. Reprinted in Igdrasil, March 1890, vol. i. p. 83, and thence in Ruskiniana,
part i., 1890, p. 5. For Raskin's acquaintance with Rogers, see the Introduction
(above).]

3 [" Its upland-lawns and cliffs with foliage hung,
Its wizard-stream, nor nameless, nor unsung."

.4?i Epistle to a Friend, 33-34.]



88 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [184*

a field all over daisies, and chestnuts all over spires of white, and a
sky all over blue. Will you not come some afternoon, and stay and
dine with us? I do think it would give you pleasure to see how
happy my father would be, and to feel, for I am sure you would feel,
how truly and entirely we both honour you with the best part of our
hearts, such as it is. And for the rest, I am not afraid, even after
so late a visit to St. James's Place, to show you one or two of our
Turners, and I have some daguerreotypes of your dear, fair Florence,
which have in them all but the cicadas among the olive leaves yes,
and some of the deep sea too, " in the broad, the narrow streets," J
which are as much verity as the verity of it is a dream. Will you
not come? I have no farther plea, though I feel sadly inclined to
vain repetition. Do come, and I will thank you better than I can
beg of you. Ever, my dear Mr. Rogers, believe me, yours gratefully
and respectfully, J. RUSKIN.

To GKORGK RICHMOND

PARIS, Aug. 12th [1844].

DEAR RICHMOND, If I have not written to you before, it is because
I had too much to talk to you about and because, a* I have been on
the hills .some ten hours a day at the very least, I did not choose to
inflict drowsiness upon you in the evenings, when, if I lifted a pen,
the lines used to entangle each other, and every sentiment terminated
in a blot. Nor am I about now to attempt telling YOU what I have
been discovering especially as in this garret at Meurice's, the memory
of snow and granite makes me testy; but I am in hopes that you will
not think it a trespass on your kindness, if I ask you not to let me
leave Paris with any of your favourite pictures unnoticed. I have only
a week, and how can I find out things in such time? If you would
note for me any works which you think it likely I should miss by
myself, and which you love, especially of the Italian early schools,
I shall reserve the best two days for them. I come here, merely
for pictures 2 everything in the streets is much as I left it nine
years ago.

We hope to get home on the 24th, and I hope, therefore, to see
you before you leave for the Continent. I suppose you will take your
usual constitutional. Oh, if you would but go to Hie Monte Rosa,
where I have been half starved. Glorious ! I had a happy day or two



1 [See Rogers'* Italy (" Venice" line 2).~

1 [F(



[For Ruskin's Notes on the Louvre, made 5:i 1*544, see Vol. XII. pp. 449-
456.]



1845] COMING HOME 89

on the Lago Maggiore among the vine-leaves and cicadas. I want to
go to Italy again I want to go everywhere at any time, and be in
twenty places at once. All that I do in Switzerland only opens a
thousand new fields to me, and I have more to see now than when
I went.

I believe they are beginning to set the house in order at Denmark
Hill. Would it be convenient to you to allow Mr. Foord to call in
York Place for the Turner l on Monday next, the 19th ? or if any other
day would suit you better, could you just send him a single line? I
suppose you are tired of it by this time but it held its own? I
would have left it till we returned, but I believe they are going over
all the pictures, and it would be better if you can spare it, to get it
placed with the others.

I have not been drawing, except three disgusting attempts at study.
I took the Alpine rose foreground fairly by the leaves, 2 but it wouldn't
do. Infinity multiplied into infinity what can white lead or 1 black
lead do with it?

What is Tom about ? I beg his pardon, but I don't like to call
him Mr. T. Give him all our kind regards, and take 'em. I hope
Mrs. Richmond and your family are well. Ever believe me, sincerely
and affectionately yours, J. RUSKIN.

Send me, if you have time, a short note to Meurice's naming what
ought to be named. Please write if you can instantly.



i8 45

[In 1845 Ruskin took his first foreign tour without his parents, and letters
therefore are numerous. Many of them, with extracts from his diaries, are given
in Vol. IV. : see its list of Contents, pp. xiv.-xvi.]



To HENRY ACLAND

[Feb., 1845.]

... I have this moment received a letter from Richmond saying he
is going to dine with me, but that his eyes are so weak he is obliged
to use another's hand. This is very bad all owing to his sitting up
at night, I imagine, added to his day's work, which alone would blind
me. I cannot draw delicate things more than two hours a day. I

1 ["The Grand Canal" or "Slavers" (see Vol. XIII. pp. 600, 605).]

2 [This water-colour drawing (12x1,3^ in.) of a Mountain-side with Pines and
Alpine Rose is in the possession of Mr. Ralph Brocklebank.]



40 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1845

suppose he has six or seven at least, stippling on white paper at least
I know I always find others with him, go when I will.

I met Jelf 1 a day or two ago looking unsatisfactory. He asked
me which way I was going to vote on the 13th. I said I didn't know
anything about the 13th, what was the matter? I wish you had seen
Jelf open his eyes. He proceeded to open mine with much indignation,
which didn't abate when I said I didn't know anything about Mr.
Ward or his book, but that they might strip his gown over his ears
as soon as they liked for anything I cared, it couldn't do any harm.
I got up the article in the Quarterly about him ; 2 his book seems to
be very much like Modern Painters plenty of hard words and not
much reasoning. It is the plague of these people that one never can
get at the bottom of them ; they are nut within nut, and a maggot
inside. I quarrelled with Clayton, as I told you, about his good
works, and all that I can get out of him is that " he doesn't see any
reason why he should answer anything in my last."



To SAMUEL ROGERS' 1845?]



MY DEAR SIR, You must not think that my not having called
since the delightful morning I passed at your house, is owing to want
either of gratitude or respect. Had I felt less of either, I might have
attempted to trouble you oftener.

Yet 1 wished to see you to-day, both because I shall not have
another opportunity of paying my respects to you until I return from
Italy, and because I thought it possible you might devise some means
of making me useful to you there. I shall of course take an early
opportunity of waiting on you when I return, but I fear it will be so
late in the season that I cannot hope to see you again until next year.

I cannot set off for Italy without thanking you again and again
for all that, before I knew you, I had learned from you, and you
know not how much (of that little I know) it is, and for all that you
first taught me to feel in the places I am going to. Believe me,
therefore, ever as gratefully as respectfully yours, J. KUSKIN.

1 [Richard William Jelf (1798-1871), principal of King's College, London,
canon of Christ Church.]

! [A review of W. G. Ward's The Ideal oj a Christian Church considered in
Comparison with Exixting J'ractice (1844), in the (Quarterly Review for December 1844,
vol. 75, p. 149. Ward was on February 13 removed from his degree at Oxford for
heresy.]

1 L From Rogers and bin Contemporaries, by P. W. Clayden, 1889, vol. ii. pp. 302-
303. Reprinted in Igdrasil, March 1890, vol. i. p. 84, and thence in Ruskinianu,
part i., 1890, p. .1.]



1845] THE VALLEY OF THE IS&RE 41

To his FATHER
CONFI^ANS or ALBERTVILLE, Tuesday Evening, 15th April, 1845.

I have had such another glorious drive to-day as never was ! by
the shore of the lake of Annecy. Such a lovely shore all walnuts and
chestnuts, with ivy up the trunks and primroses and cowslips all over
the roots, and sweet winding English-like lanes all about and among
them, with bits of wooden farms and cottages here and there, all
covered over with trellises for vines, as well as some of the road, and
even of the iake; for they actually build their trellises far out into or
over the water, so as to form a sort of vinous boat-house, and the
meadows slope up in the softest possible curves to the crags, steeper
and steeper until out comes the rock, and up go the mountains six or
seven hundred feet. You must positively come here next summer. I
couldn't start till half-past eleven this morning, owing to continued rain ;
but it cleared up then, and has been getting better ever since. When
we had got to the head of the lake of Annecy, we came as usual to a
marshy bit, and then the valleys, though very grand, got comparatively
ugly, the debris sort of thing you do not like, and their character in-
creased upon us all the way here, so that as I drove into the town,
I called out to George x it was a nasty place and I wouldn't stop, but
would go on to Montmelian. Very luckily, I happened to be mighty
hungry, so I ordered the horses to be kept for a quarter of an hour,
and ran into the inn to get a chop. It was a nasty-looking place
enough, all smoke and bustle in the kitchen, and I was congratulating
myself on having determined to go on, when they brought up a dish of
riz de veau with truffles, which I liked the look of exceedingly. While
I was discussing this, the waiter said something about a pretty view at
the end of their garden. I finished the sweetbread, paid for it, ordered
the horses, and went out to look. I got to the end of the garden, got
across a bridge, got a glance down the valley of the Isere from the
other end of it, ran back full speed to the inn, asked if their beds



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