Ruskin and Film

Sunday 17th November | 09:30 – 11:00 | Shakespeare Centre
2019 is the bicentenary of the visionary art critic, writer, artist and thinker John Ruskin. In this exclusive and wonderful event presented by Lancaster University and The Ruskin we explore and celebrate Ruskin's extraordinary life and legacy.

Professor Christopher Frayling and Professor Jeffrey Richards

From the early silent era to 'Effie Gray' and 'Mr Turner' in 2014, John Ruskin has made various guest appearances in films and television series set in the Victorian art world. These appearances provide fascinating insights into Ruskin's public reputation - and his changing image from saintly critic (in the early twentieth century) across the spectrum to very strange man (since the swinging sixties). This lecture, by two leading cultural historians, will explore the many meanings of Ruskin on screen - with generous extracts - and will argue that "we have to decide where the cultural value of John Ruskin really lies".


John Ruskin (1819-1900) was a writer, artist and philanthropist. As an author he commanded international respect, attracting praise from figures as varied as Tolstoy, George Eliot, Proust and Gandhi. He championed many of the tenets of the welfare state, and inspired the founders of the National Health Service, the formation of Public Libraries, the National Trust and many other cornerstones of civil society in the last one hundred years. His influence reached abroad in such areas as women’s education, the minimum wage, child labour, and environmental protection and has served both as a restraining influence on unbridled capitalism and a moral conscience for the nations of the world

He wrote on many things: art and architecture, nature and craftsmanship, literature and religion, political economy and social justice —a dizzying variety of subjects. He also worked tirelessly for a better society; the depth and range of his thinking, his often fierce critique of industrial society and its impact on both people and their environment, and his passionate advocacy of a sustainable relationship between people, craft and nature, remain as pertinent today as they were in his own lifetime.