a few days, almost before you are well set to work. Draw the cast
first at a foot or a foot and a half from the eye, then at three feet.
Notice the differences in outline produced by the distance. Shade
it in perfect subordination of the parts to the rounding of the whole
mass, and completely, not leaving any part sketchy. I think you
will find yourself in some difficulties before you finish even the first
study. Write to me here to tell me if you do, and what they are.
The wrinkles of a shell are the best introduction to the treatment
of the hair in great sculpture and painting, those of a shell being
more simply concurrent and orderly, and one finds out one's tendencies
to mistake better than in the more complete folds. Always truly
yours, J. RUSKIN.
P.S. I am very sorry to have detained your books. They will
be sent to Upper Berkeley Street.
Rome both as a painter and as a spiritualistic medium. Mention of her in both
capacities will be found in The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn, by William Sharp,
pp. 261, 266, 267. She used, among other subjects, to paint visions which she had
seen in crystal balls. It was perhaps through Joseph Severn that, on coming to
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London in 1865, she made Raskin's acquaintance. " Full of nervous sensibility,"
says a writer quoted in the Catholic Prccs, "she was the impersonation of genius ;
her mind was too active for the delicate frame in which it dwelt." It may be
gathered from this how sound was Ruskin's advice. She died at the age of thirty-
five, in 1867, and Brunton Stephens, the Australian poet, has written a piece in
486 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1865
DEAR Miss IROXSIDK, I should have come this afternoon to Lan-
caster Gate, but it was so dark and treacherous I thought it quite
useless, mere waste of time. Now, please, tell me what day you can
be at home in afternoon at half-past two, quite at leisure, and with
your shell in the light you draw it in ready for me; and also just
make a careful, hut not finished little study in pen and brown worked
with sepia the real shell I send you by this post in the position
and light as opposite (sketch set out on opposite sheet), with its
curved head towards you. I just want you to feel what a little bit
of difficult work is, and then go on again with the easy. Sketch the
brown stains with the sepia. Truly yours always, J. K.
MY DEAR CHILD, I can^t see you to-day I've to go into town
nor is it worth while to teach in such weather as it is likely to be
for a day or two. Here's a Durer book. Draw anything you like out
of it with the pen the Madonna at page 24, to begin with.
Remember all the lines ure drawn with a deliberate freedom . Even
the flourishes are made calmly, with intention throughout. I want
to cure you of your slovenly way of seeing things in a hurry. Never
do one touch in a hurry any more. Yours truly, J. K.
DEAR Miss IRONSIDE, We have all been having headache or tic
or toothache it has been in the air ; but I should like to know what
your curative simples are.
Don't work too eagerly at the shell. It will beat you and I
knew that it would that is all right, and I am ever so glad that
you know when you are beaten. Then one is sure to get on, but
if you had written me that you had done the shell six times over
triumphantly, I should have had no more hope of you.
Work at it quietly, being satisfied with finding out the difficulties
the conquering will come in due time. Take care to get the entire
breadth and mass of it in pale tone, showing that it is a white object,
and then as much inner detail os you can give within the limits.
Ever truly yours, J. RUSKIX.
MY DF.AU C'HII.D, You shall come here if you like. I think it
will be better: and if vou're too tireworkv I'll sive vou some ice
1865] THE NEED OF QUIET 487
cream; but do be good and quiet or you'll kill yourself, and then
you'll never be able to draw shell nor faces neither, for I suppose
there isn't any shade on those blessed angels or else they're all
charcoal, even when they come upstairs and one couldn't draw them
either way. Friday, if you don't hear from me. Ever faithfully
yours, J. RUSKIN.
DENMARK HILL, 8th July, 1865.
MY DEAR Miss IRONSIDE, It is partly the state of your health,
partly the excitement in which you have continually lived, which make
it so difficult for you now to be quiet. Remember, the quieter you
can keep, the more the fire (what fire is within you) will achieve, and
the longer it will last. I think I shall be able to be of some use to
you in the way you tell me. You have borne 'a great deal from me
already, considering the real powers you have and the way you have
Never get a more difficult model until you have quite mastered the
easy one. But that one is by no means easy. Nothing is easy to do
well. When you can draw a shell quite rightly you will be able to
do anything. Meantime, if Mr. Leaf will kindly give you a pretty
purple convolvulus to-morrow or Monday morning (I draw or I write
on Sunday if need be), just put it so that the top lip is level, and
draw it very firmly in mere outline with a pen in the position opposite
(sketch opposite). I want to see if you find out a particular subtlety
about its final structure. The worst fault in your shell was your
having drawn its exquisite enlarging lips (sketch showing what it
should be) like this (sketch caricaturing you to show what I mean).
You execute beautifully never mind about that think only of getting
line and shadow right, not of texture. And draw an easier (if you
can get one) shell next.
With sincere compliments to Mrs. Leaf, and regards to your mother,
truly yours, J. RUSKIN.
MY DEAR CHILD, It's all right if only you'll keep yourself quiet.
Never ask for things. I only said " convolvulus " because I thought
there would be thousands out every morning at Mr. Leafs. Anything
will do for anything. You mav learn drawing as well out of the
next greengrocery as out of the Garden of the Hesperides (if they
were open). I'll come to see the shell soon. I want to see it.
Monday, I think, at latest. Truly yours, J. RUSKIN.
488 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [1865
MY DEAR CHILD, Thank you for your letter and presents and
the bit of newspaper. I will get that book of gems. Of the four
Tyrdentan coins, one is very beautiful, and I will keep it gratefully.
The others are late and not good, and they will be worth much to
historical purpose ; but I never keep anything but what is intrinsically
good, if I can help it, so these three you shall take back.
The shells are very pretty thank you for them.
Now observe how you waste your strength and fancy for no pur-
pose. You find out instinctively a book in the library, which tells
you nothing essentially. Without instinct I simply ask Dr. Gray or
Mr. Owen, 1 who know their business, whether there is a stone in a
toad's head. They at once say no, and there is an end to all trouble
and " magic " in the matter. What is the use of your fine instincts
only to lead you astray.
And now consider more gravely this : You call me a materialist.
Perhaps I am. You call yourself a spiritualist and a Christian, and
think that in time I shall be in a higher sphere, by being like you
in these matters.
Now, if I loved anybody, and they cared for somebody else, I
should try to help them in their affection, whatever it might cost me.
But you know what you said you would do. Which of us in this
(and it is a great test of one's nature) is the most really spiritual
and Christian ? Always faithfully yours, J. RUSKIN.
To DAXTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI 2
DENMARK HILL ,
MY DEAR ROSSETTI, What a goose you are to go about listening
to people's gossip about me ! I have never parted with any of your
drawings but the " Francesca." 3 I leave the "Golden Water" and
"Passover" at a Girls' School, because I go there often, 4 and enjoy
1 [For Dr. J. E. Gray, of the British Museum., see Vol. XXVIII. p. 308 ; for
Mr. (afterwards Sir Richard) Owen, above, p. 362.]
a [Rossetti Papers, pp. 132-133, where it is stated by a confusion of names that
" Butterworth (? Butterfield) is the distinguished architect." He was, in fact, a
carpenter, a student at the Working Men's College, who became one of Ruskin's
assistants : see p. 489.]
3 [" I'aolo and Francesca"; afterwards in the collection of William Morris, and
now in that of Mr. G. Rae : see above, pp. 229, 234, 242.1
1 [Miss Bell's school at Winning-ton. Ruskin afterwards gave "Golden Water"
to Mrs. W. H. Churchill: see Vol. XXXV. p. 638.]
1865] UNCHANGED OPINIONS 489
them more than if they were hanging up here because here I dwell on
their faults of perspective and such like. Am I so mean in money
matters that I should sell Lizzie ? l You ought to have painted her
better, and known me better. I'll give you her back any day that
you're a good boy, but it will be a long while before that comes
You scratched the eyes out of my " Launcelot," 2 and I gave that
to Butterworth that was not my fault. If you could do my
Dante's Boat 3 for ine instead of money. I should like it but I
don't believe you can. So do as you like when you like. Ever
yours affectionately, J. RUSKIN.
To DAXTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI 4
DEIS-MARK HILL .
DEAR ROSSETTI, It is all right do not come till you are quite
happy in coming but do not think / am changed. I like your old
work as much as ever. I framed (only the other day) the golden
girl with black guitar, 5 and I admire all the old water-colours just
as much as when they were first done. I admire Titian and Tintoret
and Angelico just as I used to do, and for the same reasons.
The change in you may be right or towards right but it is in you,
not in me. It may not be change, but only the coming out of a
new element. But Millais might as well say I was changed because
I detest the mode of painting the background and ground in his
Roman soldier, 6 while I praised and still praise "Mariana" and the
" Huguenot," as you say that / was changed because I praised the cart-
and-bridge picture 7 and dislike the Flora.
It is true that I am now wholly intolerant of what I once for-
givingly disliked bad perspective and such like for I look upon them
1 [A portrait of Miss E. Siddal (Mrs. Rossetti), "perhaps the one named Regina
Cordium" (W. M. R.) No. 104 in H. C. Marillier's Catalogue.]
[The drawing of "Arthur's Tomb" : see above,, p. 229.]
3 [Of this subject, suggested by Iluskin from Dante's sonnet, Rossetti made an
oil-monochrome, called "The Boat of Love," which is now in the Birmingham
4 [JRossetti Pupera, p. 134.]
5 [The "Girl singing to a Lute": see above., p. 206 72.]
6 [The picture called "The Romans leaving Britain," exhibited at the Royal
Academy in 1865.]
7 [The picture called "Found." "The Flora' 1 is the picture called " Venus
490 LETTERS OF RUSKIN Voi, I [is6s
as moral insolences and iniquities in any painter of average power;
but I am only more intensely now what I always was (since you knew
me), and am more intensely, in spite of perspective indignation, yours
affectionately, J. RUSKIN.
To DAXTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI l
DENMARK HILL .
MY DEAR ROSSETTI, It is very good and pretty of you to answer
so. I have little time this morning, but will answer at once so far
as regards what you say you wish me to tell you.
There are two methods of laying oil-colour which can be proved
right, each for its purposes Van Eyck's (or Holbein's) and Titian's
(or Correggio's) : one of them involving no display of power of hand,
the other involving it essentially and as an element of its beauty-
Which of these styles you adopt I do not care. I supposed, in old
times, you were going to try to paint like that Van Eyck in the
National Gallery with the man and woman and mirror. 2 If you say,
"No I mean rather to paint like Correggio" by all means, so much
the better; but you are not on the way to Correggio. And you
are, it seems, under the (for the present) fatal mistake of thinking
that you will ever learn to paint well by painting badly i.e., coarsely.
At present you lay your colour ill, and you will only learn, by
doing so, to lay it worse. No great painter ever allowed himself,
in the smallest touch, to paint ill i.e., to daub or smear his paint.
What he could not paint easily he would not paint at all and
gained gradual power by never in the smallest thing doing wrong.
1. You may say you like coarse painting better than Correggio's,
and that it is righter. To this I should make no answer knowing
answer to be vain.
2. If you say you do not see the difference, again I only answer
I am sorry. Nothing more is to be said.
J3. If you say, " I see the difference and mean to do better, and
am on the way to do better," I answer I know you are not on the
way to do better, and I cannot bear the pain of seeing you at work
as you are working now. But come back to me when you have
found out your mistake or (if you are right in vour method) when
you can do better.
All this refers only to laving of paint.
I have two distinct other counts against vou : vour method of
liusftetti 1'apers, pp. ].'}">-l ,%.]
No. 1!!'; : t'oi- other references to it, >ee a!.ove, ]>. !)B ."
1865] FRIENDLY REMONSTRANCES 491
study of chiaroscuro ; and your permission of modification of minor
truths for sensational purposes.
I will see what you say to this first count before I pass to the others.
I am very glad, at all events, to understand you better than I
did, in the grace and sweetness of your letters. Ever affectionately
yours, J. RUSKIN.
To DANTE GABRIEL HOSSETTI l
DENMARK HILL, .
DEAR ROSSETTI, You know exactly as much about Correggio as I
knew in the year 1845, and feel exactly as I did then. I can't give
you the results of twenty years 1 work upon him in a letter, so I say
I purposely joined him with Titian to poke you up. I purposely
used the word " wonderfully " painted about those flowers. They were
wonderful to me, in their realism ; awful I can use no other word in
their coarseness: showing enormous power, showing certain conditions
of non-sentiment which underlie all you are doing now . . .
You take upon you, for your ozcn interest, to judge to whom I
should and should not give or lend your drawings. In your interest
only and judging from no other person's sayings, but from my own
sight I tell you the people you associate with are ruining you. But
remember I have personally some right to say this for the entirely
blameable introduction you gave to a mere blackguard, to me, has
been the cause of such a visible libel upon me going about England
as I hold worse than all the scandals and lies ever uttered about me.
But, if there is anything in my saying this which you feel either
cruel or insolent, again I ask your pardon.
Come and see me nozc, if you like. I have said all I wish to say,
and can be open which is all I need for my comfort. I have many
things here you might like to see and talk over. Ever affectionately
yours, J. RUSKIX.
1 [Rossetti Papers, pp. 1-36-137. "It would appear," says Mr. W. M. Rossetti,
"that, between the dates of Ruskin's last letter and of this one, Rossetti must have
reminded him by letter that he had, at some previous date, said by word of mouth
that the flowers (roses and honeysuckles) in the 'Venus Verticordia' were 'wonder-
fully' painted. After replying' on this point lluskin proceeds to make some rather
strong 1 observations. The person whom he calls 'a mere blackguard' was the
highly-reputed photographer Mr. Downey, who took about this time some photo-
graphs of Rossetti. In one of these lluskin posed along with Rossetti, but the
photograph which he terms ' a visible libel ' was (I take it) a different one, repre-
senting lluskin (alone) seated, and leaning on a walking-stick. It went all over
the country at the time ; and (if I may trust my own opinion) was a good though
not an advantageous likeness."]
492 LETTERS OF RUSKIN VOL. I [is6s
To DANTE GABRIEL RossErn l
DKN.MARK HILL .
DEAR HOSSETTI, I am also very thankful these letters have been
written we shall both care more for each other. Please come now
the first fine evening tea at seven. I will stay in till you do come,
so you will be sure of me.
Before I see you, let me at once put an end to your calling me,
whatever you may think (much more, any supposing that I think
myself), a "great man." It is just because I honestly know I am not
that I speak so positively on other known things. I entirely scorn
all my own capacities, except the sense of visible beauty, which is a
useful gift not a "greatness.' 1 '' But I have worked at certain things
which I know that I know, as I do spelling.
I never said you were not in a position and at an age to know
more of Correggio than I did in ""45. I said simply you did know
no more of him. But your practice of painting in a different manner
has been dead against you it is much to allow for you that you
know as much of him as I did then. You hardly do, for I then
knew something of his glorious system of fresco-colour which you
very visibly do not; and had gathered a series of data and notes at
the risk of my life on the rotten tiles of the Parma dome, with a
view of " writing Correggio down." 2 It was one of the few pieces of
Providence I am thankful for in my past life, that I did not then
write a separate book against Correggio. I know exactly how you
feel to him, and would no more dispute about it than I would with
Gainsborough for knowing nothing about Albert Dlirer, or saying
he, A. D., drew nothing but women with big bellies.
But we won't have rows; and, when you come, we'll look at things
that we both like. You shall bar Parma, and I Japan ; and we'll
look at Titian, John Bellini, Albert Diirer, and Edward Jones; and
111 say no more about the red-eyed man and the phot(ograph)s.
Ever your affectionate J. UUSKIN.
To DANTE GA URIEL KOSSETTI 3
DKN.MAHK HJM. [rJu/i/, 1805].
MY DEAR RO.SSETTI, I am very grateful to you for this letter,
and for the feelings it expresses towards me. I was not angry, and
1 [Roxxrtti 1'npvrx, ]>]>. 137-1M.]
2 J-'or Rnskin'f depreciation of C'orrejrgio in li)4. r >, see Vol. IV. pp. xxxv., 1!)7 "]
3 [liossetti J'a/wrx, pp. 141-144. "This remarkable letter," says Mr. W. M.
Rossetti, " brought to a close the interchange of views which had just now been
1865] LOVE AND SYMPATHY 493
there was nothing in your note that needed your asking my pardon.
You meant them the first and second just as rightly as this pretty
third, and yet they conclusively showed me that we could not at
present, nor for some time yet, be companions any more, though
true friends, I hope, as ever.
I am grateful for your love but yet I do not want love. I have
had boundless love from many people during my life. And in more
than one case that love has been my greatest calamity I have bound-
lessly suffered from it. But the thing, in any helpful degree, I have
never been able to get, except from two women of whom I never see
the only one I care for, and from Edward Jones, is " understanding."
I am nearly sick of being loved as of being hated for my lovers
understand me as little as my haters. I had rather, in fact, be disliked
by a man who somewhat understood me than much loved by a man
who understood nothing of me.
Now I am at present out of health and irritable, and entirely
resolved to make myself as comfortable as I can, and therefore to
associate only with people who in some degree think of me as I think
of myself. I may be wrong in saying I am this or that, but at
present I can only live or speak with people who agree with me that
I am this or that. And there are some things which I know I know
or can do, just as well as a man knows he can ride or swim, or
knows the facts of such and such a science.
Now there are many things in which I always have acknowledged,
and shall acknowledge, your superiority to me. I know it, as well
as I know that St. Paul's is higher than I am. There are other
things in which I just as simply know that / am superior to you.
I don't mean in writing. You write, as you paint, better than I.
I could never have written a stanza like you.
Now in old times I did not care two straws whether you knew
or acknowledged in what I was superior to you, or not. But now
(being, as I say, irritable and ill) I do care, and I will associate
with no man who does not more or less accept my own estimate of
going on between Ruskin and Rossetti ; from this time forward they met hardly at
all and corresponded but very little. The letter bore at first a date of the day of
the month seemingly 18 : but this was cancelled by the writer and a ? substituted.
Towards the middle of the letter Mr. Raskin speaks of 'this affair of the draw-
ings.' I understand him to mean the question which Rossetti had raised as to the
mode in which Ruskin disposed of some of Rossetti's old water-colours ; or perhaps
the point is the preceding suggestion that Rossetti might paint ' The Boat of Love,'
followed, as it probably was, by some demur on the artist's part, or else the point
at the top of p. 494 (here). I am not wholly sure which was the 'last picture'
of a different painter of which Ruskin entertained so bad an opinion. I give the
initial G., but this is not correct."]
494 LETTERS OF RUSKIN Voi, I [1865
myself. For instance, Brett told me, a year ago, that a statement
of mine respecting a scientific matter (which I knew a fond before
he was born) was " bosh." I told him in return he was a fool ; he
left the house, and I will not see him again "until he is wiser."
Now you in the same manner tell me "the faults in your drawings
r.re not greater than those I put up with in what is about me," and
that one of my assistants is a " mistakenly transplanted carpenter."
And I answer net that you are a fool, because no man is that who
can tiesign as you can but simply that you know nothing of me.
nor of my knowledge, nor of my thoughts, nor of the sort of grasp
of things I have in directions in which you are utterly powerless;
and that I do not choose any more to talk to you until you can
recognize my superiorities as / can yours.
And this recognition, observe, is not a matter of will or courtesy.
You simply do not see certain characters in me, and cannot see
them : still less could you (or should I ask you to) pretend to see
them. A tlay may come when you will be able. Then, without
apology, without restraint merely as being different from what you
are now come back to me, and we will be as we used to be. It is
not this affair of the drawings not this sentence but the ways and
thoughts I have seen in you ever since I knew you, coupled with
this change of health in myself, which render this necessary compli-
cated also by a change in your own methods of work with which
I have no sympathy, and which renders it impossible for me to give
you the kind of praise which would give you pleasure.
There are some things in which I know your present work to be
wrong : others in which I strongly feel it so. I cannot conquer the
feeling, though I do not allege that as a proof of the wrongness.
The points of knowledge I could not establish to you, any more
than I could teach you mineralogy or botany, without some hard
work on your part, in directions in which it is little likely you will
ever give it. It is of course useless for me, under such circumstances,
to talk to you.
The one essential thing is that you should feel (and you will do
me a bitter injustice if you do not feel this) that, though you cannot
now refer to me as in any way helpful to you by expression of judg-
ment to the public, my inability is 1,0 result of any offence taken
with you. I would give much to see you doing as you have done
and to be able to say what I once said.
With re-pcct to G., the relation between us is far more hopeless.
His last picture is to me such an accursed and entirely damnable
piece of work that I believe I have been from tho beginning wrong
1865] HOME LIFE AND WORK 495
in attributing any essential painter's power to him whatever, and
that the high imitative results he used to obtain were merely acci-
dental consequences of a slavish industry and intensely ambitious
conscientiousness. I think so ill of it that I cannot write a word to
him though otherwise I should have felt it my duty to warn him,
before I spoke to others. I cannot, of course, allow such work to
pass as representing what I used to praise, but I speak of it, as I do