[John Ruskin.] Carte de visite by Elliott & Fry, London, with facsimile signature.

John Ruskin, pre-eminent Victorian art critic; Elliott & Fry, nineteenth-century London photographers noted for their cartes de visite
Publication details: 
1867 or 1869. Elliott & Fry, 55, Baker Street, Portman Square, London, W.
SKU: 25026

Rather long for a carte de visite: 6 x 9 cm albumen print laid down on 6.5 x 10.5 cm card. In fair condition, lightly discoloured and worn. On the card beneath the photograph is a facsimile of Ruskin’s signature (‘John Ruskin’) and ‘ELLIOTT & FRY Copyright. 55. BAKER ST.’ Printed on the reverse is the royal crest and the firm’s address. A copy of the present item was offered by Sotheby’s in 2021, dated to 1867, with the claim that it was ‘signed on the mount’. That claim is erroneous: the signature to that copy is identical with the present lithographed one. A head and shoulders shot, with Ruskin staring straight at the viewer with right shoulder slightly forwards and left shoulder back. The photographers have enveloped the image in an oval of soft-focus fade: the National Portrait Gallery contains another version of the same image (NPG x29554), dated by them to 1869 and with an unfaded view of Ruskin’s upper torso and right arm. See image.