[John Ruskin, Victorian art critic.] Autograph Letter Signed ('J Ruskin') to Rev. G. T. Oldham ('Dear Townsend'), re. Ruskin's goddaughter Constance Oldham, his views on education & Francesca Alexander. With proof of Printed "Letter" on John Leech.

Author: 
John Ruskin (1819-1900), prominent Victorian art critic, author, artist and thinker [Rev. George Townsend Oldham (1849-1901) of Blackheath; Constance Oldham; Francesca Alexander; John Leech]
Publication details: 
'Sunday 13th Nov. 87' [1887]. No place.
£2,200.00
SKU: 22332

LETTER: 2pp, 12mo. On a bifolium of grey paper. In good condition, lightly aged. Folded once. Twenty-eight lines of text in Ruskin's neat and controlled hand. The salutation is to 'Dear Townsend' and the recipient is named by Ruskin at the end as 'Revd. G. T. Oldham.' The first paragraph reads: 'Dear Townsend | Of course I'll write my name on the big photo and be ever so proud; though the use and meaning of it in the light you have taken it is new to me – and not mine though I'm very thankful to steal it. I do hope the big proof will come [?], and delight and surprise F. herself.' He has 'great joy' in hearing the news of 'Constance's improved health', adding: 'I had no idea of my god-daughters real power and goodness till this last year, when her letters have been endlessly amusing and beautifully tender and helpful.' He concludes on the question of education: 'Much ought to develope [sic] out of schools such as you and one or two – very few – of our young masters are now organizing | But I want more to be done in music and drawing. - both – in my judgment – coming a long way before any arithmetic or mathematics in usefulness and height of [need?]'. A pencil note in another hand explains that the 'big photo' Ruskin refers to in the letter is 'Miss Alexander's S. Christopher'. The reference is to Ruskin's protégée the illustrator Francesca Alexander (1837-1917), she being the 'F.' referred to in the letter. PROOF: Two columns of small print, on one side of 22 x 18 cm piece of paper with 1871 watermark. The letter was printed in the 1871 'Catalogue of the Exhibition of Outlines by the late John Leech', and reprinted in Cook and Wedderburn's collected works. Headed: 'LETTER FROM JOHN RUSKIN, ESQ.' At end, in type: '(Signed) J. RUSKIN.' In fair condition, somewhat aged and worn. Folded three times. The text begins: 'I am honoured by the request of the sister of John Leech that I should give some account of the drawings by her brother, which remain in her possession; […]'. Ruskin has drawn attention with a manuscript line to a passage in which he expresses the desire that Leech's topographical drawings be placed 'in a quite permanent arrangement in each of our great towns, in connection with their drawing schools'.