Jeanne Paquin(23 June 1869–28 August 1936) was a leading French fashion designer, known for her resolutely modern and innovative designs. She was the first major female couturier and one of the pioneers of the modern fashion business.
Jeanne Paquin, née Jeanne Beckers le 23 juin 1869 à L'Île-Saint-Denis et décédée le 28 août 1936 à Paris 7e, est une grande couturière française. Elle est l'une des premières à avoir acquis une renommée internationale, à la fin du xixe siècle.
Jeanne Paquin was born Jeanne Marie Charlotte Beckers in 1869. Her father was a physician. She was one of five children.
Sent out to work as a young teenager, Jeanne trained as a dressmaker at Rouff (a Paris couture house established in 1884 and located on Boulevard Haussmann). She quickly rose through to ranks becoming première, in charge of the atelier.
In 1891, Jeanne Marie Charlotte Beckers married Isidore René Jacob, who was also known as Paquin. Isidore owned Paquin Lalanne et cie, a couture house which had grown out of a menswear shop in the 1840s. The couple renamed the company Paquin and set about building the business.
In 1891, Jeanne and Isidore Paquin opened their Maison de Couture at 3 Rue de la Paix in Paris, next to the celebrated House of Worth. Jeanne was in charge of design, while Isidore ran the business.
Initially, Jeanne favored the pastels in fashion at the time. Eventually, she moved on to stronger colors like black and her signature red. Black had been traditionally the color of mourning. Jeanne made the color fashionable by blending it with vividly colorful linings and embroidered trim.
Jeanne Paquin was the first couturier to send models dressed in her apparel to public events such operas and horse races for publicity. Paquin also frequently collaborated with the illustrators and architects such as Léon Bakst, George Barbier, Robert Mallet-Stevens, and Louis Süe. She was also known to collaborate with the theatre, in a time when other houses rejected collaboration. In 1913, a New York Times reporter described Jeanne as "the most commercial artist alive".
A London branch of The House of Paquin was opened in 1896 and the business became a limited company the same year. This shop employed a young Madeleine Vionnet. The company later expanded with shops in Buenos Aires and Madrid.
In 1900, Jeanne was instrumental in organizing the Universal Exhibition and she was elected president of the Fashion Section. Her designs were featured prominently at the Exhibition and Jeanne created a mannequin of herself for display.
Isidore Paquin died in 1907 at the age of 45, leaving Jeanne a widow at 38. Over 2,000 people attended Isidore's funeral. After Isidore's death, Jeanne dressed mostly in black and white.
In 1912, Jeanne and her half-brother opened a furrier, Paquin-Joire, on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The same year, Jeanne signed an exclusive illustration contract with La Gazette du Bon Ton, which featured six other leading Paris designers of the day – Louise Chéruit, Georges Doeuillet, Jacques Doucet, Paul Poiret, Redfern & Sons, and the House of Worth.
In 1913, Jeanne accepted France's prestigious Legion d’Honneur in recognition of her economic contributions to the country – the first woman designer to receive the honor. A year later, Jeanne toured the United States. For five dollars, attendees saw The House of Paquin's latest designs. Despite the high ticket price, the tour sold out.
During World War I, Jeanne served as president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. She was the first woman to serve as president of an employers syndicate in France.
At its height, the House of Paquin was so well known that Edith Wharton mentioned the company by name in The House of Mirth.
At a time when couture houses employed 50 to 400 workers, the House of Paquin employed up to 2,000 people at its apex. The Queens of Spain, Belgium, and Portugal were all customers of Paquin. So were courtesans such as La Belle Otero and Liane de Pougy.
When Jeanne Paquin retired in 1920, she passed responsibility to her assistant Madeleine Wallis. Wallis remained as house designer for Paquin until 1936, the same year that Jeanne Paquin died.
Between 1936 and 1941, the Spanish designer Ana de Pombo, Wallis's assistant, was house designer. In 1941, de Pombo left, and her assistant, Antonio del Castillo (1908–1984) took over as head designer. In 1945 del Castillo left Paquin to become a designer for Elizabeth Arden, and would later become head designer for the house of Lanvin. He was succeeded by Colette Massignac, who was tasked with the challenge of keeping Paquin going during the post-War years, when new designers such as Christian Dior were receiving greater publicity and attention. In 1949, the Basque designer Lou Claverie became head designer at Paquin, until 1953, when he was succeeded by a young American designer, Alan Graham. However, Graham's understated designs failed to reinvigorate the brand of Paquin, and the Paris house closed on 1 July 1956.
Née à L'Île-Saint-Denis, Jeanne Beckers commence sa formation de modeliste pour faire son apprentissage.
En 1891, après son mariage avec Isidore Jacob, dit Paquin, elle ouvre sa propre maison de couture à Paris, 3, rue de la Paix. Ses robes du soir aux motifs « xviiie siècle », ses modèles ornés de fourrure ou de dentelle, lui assurent une grande notoriété. Femme d’affaires avisée, elle est l’une des premières à pressentir l’intérêt des techniques de promotion, n’hésitant pas à apparaître entourée de ses mannequins lors de soirées à l'opéra Garnier ou encore lors des jours de grands prix équestres, et à organiser de véritables défilés de mode pour promouvoir ses nouveaux modèles.
Elle préside la section Modes de l'Exposition universelle de 1900. Dans son stand, elle se fait représenter par un mannequin de cire vêtu d'un déshabillé brodé de roses d'or.
Associée à des partenaires britanniques, Jeanne Paquin transfère, en 1896, son siège à Londres, au 39 Dover Street, tout en gardant sa succursale de Paris. En 1912, elle ouvre à New York, au 398 de la Cinquième Avenue, une boutique consacrée à la fourrure, qu’elle confie à son demi-frère, Henri Joire et dont l'agencement est réalisé par Robert Mallet-Stevens. La même année elle fait réaliser une villa au 33, rue du Mont-Valérien à Saint-Cloud (alors en Seine-et-Oise, aujourd'hui dans les Hauts-de-Seine) par l'architecte décorateur Louis Süe. Peu de temps après, deux nouvelles succursales voient le jour à Madrid et à Buenos Aires. Elle est la première grande couturière à recevoir, en 1913, la croix de la Légion d'honneur.
Si l’inspiration de Jeanne Paquin puise largement dans le passé, elle sait également s’adapter aux évolutions de l’époque, proposant un modèle de tailleur adapté à la « civilisation du métro » ou, à la veille de la Première Guerre mondiale, une robe intermédiaire entre le tailleur et le costume. Son esprit résolument moderne s’exprime encore dans sa collaboration avec Léon Bakst pour la création de costumes de théâtre.
Présidente de la Chambre syndicale de la couture de 1917 à 1919, Jeanne Paquin se retire en 1920, laissant l’administration de la maison à Henri Joire, et la direction artistique à Madeleine Wallis. Ana de Pombo la remplace en 1936, année de la mort de Jeanne Paquin, puis cède la place en 1942 à Antonio Canovas del Castillo.
La direction de la maison revient ensuite à Colette Massignac, puis à Lou Claverie, qui sauront adapter le style des collections au New Look mis à la mode par Christian Dior. En 1956, la maison Paquin, essuyant de graves difficultés financières, cessera son activité.
La « maison Paquin » est immortalisée par la chanson de Léo Lelièvre, La Biaiseuse en 1912 (reprise notamment par Annie Cordy et Marie-Paule Belle) : « Je suis biaiseuse chez Paquin... ».
La couturière se fait construire une villa à Deauville en 1909 : le premier projet, demandé à Robert Mallet-Stevens, semblant ne pas avoir abouti, c'est finalement l'architecte Auguste Bluysen qui est retenu. Au xxie siècle, la villa est baptisée Les Abeilles.
Jacques Doucet (19 February 1853–30 October 1929) was a French fashion designer and art collector. He is known for his elegant dresses, made with flimsy translucent materials in superimposing pastel colors.
Jacques Doucet, né le 19 février 1853 à Paris et mort le 30 octobre 1929 à Neuilly-sur-Seine, est un grand couturier, collectionneur et mécène français, personnalité de la vie artistique et littéraire parisienne des années 1880-1920.
Jacques Doucet was born in Paris in 1853 to a prosperous family whose lingerie and linens business, Doucet Lingerie, had flourished in the Rue de la Paix since 1816. In 1871, Doucet opened a salon selling ladies' apparel. An enthusiastic collector of eighteenth-century furniture, objets d'art, paintings, and sculptures, many of his gowns were strongly influenced by this opulent era.
Beginning in 1912, the fashions of Jacques Doucet were illustrated in the fashion magazine La Gazette du Bon Ton with six other leading Paris designers of the day – Louise Chéruit, Georges Doeuillet, Jeanne Paquin, Paul Poiret, Redfern & Sons, and the House of Charles Worth. His most original designs were those he created for actresses of the time. Cécile Sorel, Rejane and Sarah Bernhardt (for whom he designed her famous white costume in L'Aiglon) all often wore his outfits, both on and off the stage. For the aforementioned actresses he reserved a particular style, one which consisted of frills, sinuous curving lines and lace ruffles the colors of faded flowers. Doucet was a designer of taste and discrimination who valued dignity and luxury above novelty and practicality, and gradually faded from popularity during the 1920s.
A collector of art and literature throughout his life, by the time of his death he had a collection of Post-Impressionist and Cubist paintings, including Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which he bought direct from Picasso's studio, as well as two libraries' both of which he left to the French nation. Doucet donated his collection of art books and research to the University of Paris in 1917, transferred to the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art in 2003 and, at his death in 1929, his collection of manuscripts by contemporary writers for which the University created in his honour the Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques-Doucet. Francois Chapon wrote a book titled C'etait Jacques Doucet about the life and work of the fashion designer.
Jacques Doucet owned a hôtel particulier, rue Saint-James, Neuilly-sur-Seine.which was designed by the architect Paul Ruaud. Several years after World War I, in 1927, Cubists Joseph Csaky, Jacques Lipchitz, Louis Marcoussis, Henri Laurens, the sculptor Gustave Miklos, and others collaborated in the decoration. Laurens designed the fountain, Csaky designed Doucet's staircase, Lipchitz made the fireplace mantel and Marcoussis created a Cubist rug.
Propriétaire d’un magasin hérité de sa mère, rue de la Paix, Jacques Doucet fonde à Paris une des premières maisons de haute couture. Sa riche clientèle d’actrices et de femmes du monde — Réjane, Sarah Bernhardt, Liane de Pougy, la Belle Otéro — lui assure une fortune et lui permet de satisfaire ses passions d’amateur d’art et de bibliophile. Il forma Paul Poiret (1898-1901) et eut Madeleine Vionnet parmi ses assistantes.
En 1925, le financier Georges Aubert prend le contrôle de la maison Doucet et provoque un rapprochement avec la maison de Georges Dœuillet. Après la crise de 1929, la nouvelle société Dœuillet-Doucet perdure jusqu'en 1937.
Enrichi par son activité de couturier, Jacques Doucet pose les premières pierres d'une importante collection d'objets d'art consacrée au xviiie siècle. Il rassemble des tableaux, dessins, sculptures, œuvres d'ébénisterie et de marqueterie, des estampes et des livres. Sa collection, qui réunit des pièces de provenance prestigieuse, est ouverte aux amateurs et chercheurs qui en font la demande. Parmi les pièces remarquables, on compte les Bulles de Savon de Chardin.
En 1912, il vend une grande partie de cette première collection, à la suite de la mort tragique de la femme qu'il aimait en secret et à laquelle il destinait cet ensemble1. La vente publique, qui fait événement, engendre 13 884 460 francs d’adjudications, ce qui en fait la vente la plus chère de son temps. Outre les prix atteints, cette vente est remarquable en ce qu'elle donne lieu à un catalogue de vente particulièrement documenté, illustré et investi d'une dimension scientifique : il a été rédigé par des spécialistes, historiens de l'art et conservateurs de musée2.
Une partie importante de la collection d'art du couturier est présentée en permanence au Musée Angladon-Collection Jacques Doucet à Avignon, créé par les héritiers de Doucet.
En 1912, il vend une grande partie de cette première collection, à la suite de la mort tragique de la femme qu'il aimait en secret et à laquelle il destinait cet ensemble. La vente publique, qui fait événement, engendre 13 884 460 francs d’adjudications, ce qui en fait la vente la plus chère de son temps. Outre les prix atteints, cette vente est remarquable en ce qu'elle donne lieu à un catalogue de vente particulièrement documenté, illustré et investi d'une dimension scientifique : il a été rédigé par des spécialistes, historiens de l'art et conservateurs de musée.
Une partie importante de la collection d'art du couturier est présentée en permanence au Musée Angladon-Collection Jacques Doucet à Avignon, créé par les héritiers de Doucet.
Conseillé par Henri-Pierre Roché ou André Breton, Jacques Doucet constitue un nouvel ensemble composé de pièces modernes ou contemporaines, Manet, Constantin Brancusi Cézanne, Degas, Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marie Laurencin, Joan Miro, Francis Picabia et des pièces Art déco de Marcel Coard, Joseph Csaky, Jean Dunand, Eileen Gray, Pierre Legrain, etc. En 1924, il est le premier propriétaire des Demoiselles d'Avignon de Picasso : achetées sans avoir été déroulées parce qu'elles traînaient dans un coin de l'atelier du peintre, elles seront estimées quelques mois plus tard entre deux et trois cent mille francs.
C'est la vente en 1972 de la collection Doucet qui re-popularise l'Art déco auprès du grand public, avec des oeuvres de Pierre Legrain, Rose Adler, Eileen Gray, Clément Rousseau ou encore Marcel Coard.
Ami d'André Suarès, il collectionne ses manuscrits, s’intéresse à ceux de la génération précédente — Stendhal, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud — et de la génération contemporaine : Apollinaire, Gide, Cocteau, Mauriac, Montherlant, Maurois, Morand, Valéry, Proust, Giraudoux. Il fait recouvrir ces manuscrits de reliures modernes avant de donner cette bibliothèque littéraire à l’Université de Paris en 1929 : elle deviendra la Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet. Jacques Doucet a également eu un rôle de mécène auprès de nombreux écrivains tels que André Suarès, Max Jacob, Reverdy, André Breton, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos.
John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was an English writer, philosopher and art critic of the Victorian era. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy.
Ruskin's writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. He wrote essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, architectural structures and ornamentation. The elaborate style that characterised his earliest writing on art gave way in time to plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasised the connections between nature, art and society.
Ruskin was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century and up to the First World War. After a period of relative decline, his reputation has steadily improved since the 1960s with the publication of numerous academic studies of his work. Today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft.
Ruskin first came to widespread attention with the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), an extended essay in defence of the work of J. M. W. Turner in which he argued that the principal role of the artist is "truth to nature". From the 1850s, he championed the Pre-Raphaelites, who were influenced by his ideas. His work increasingly focused on social and political issues. Unto This Last (1860, 1862) marked the shift in his emphasis. In 1869, Ruskin became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing. In 1871, he began his monthly "letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain", published under the title Fors Clavigera (1871–1884). In the course of this complex and deeply personal work, he developed the principles underlying his ideal society. As a result, he founded the Guild of St George, an organisation that endures today.
John Ruskin was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, London, the only child of his parents who were first cousins. His father, John James Ruskin (1785–1864), was a sherry and wine importer, founding partner and de facto business manager of Ruskin, Telford and Domecq. His mother Margaret Cock (1781–1871), was the daughter of a publican. She had joined the Ruskin household when she became companion to John James's mother, Catherine. They married, without celebration, in 1818.
Ruskin's childhood was shaped by the contrasting influences of his father and mother, both of whom were fiercely ambitious for him. John James Ruskin helped to develop his son's Romanticism. They shared a passion for the works of Byron, Shakespeare and especially Walter Scott. Margaret Ruskin, an evangelical Christian, more cautious and restrained than her husband, taught young John to read the Bible from beginning to end, and then to start all over again, committing large portions to memory. Its language, imagery and parables had a profound and lasting effect on his writing.
As a child Ruskin was educated at home by his parents and private tutors. From 1834 to 1835 he attended the school in Peckham run by the progressive evangelical Thomas Dale (1797–1870). Ruskin heard Dale lecture in 1836 at King's College, London, where Dale was the first Professor of English Literature. Ruskin went on to enroll and complete his studies at King's College, where he prepared for Oxford under Dale's tutelage.
Ruskin was greatly influenced by the extensive and privileged travels he enjoyed in his childhood. It helped to establish his taste and augmented his education. He sometimes accompanied his father on visits to business clients at their country houses, which exposed him to English landscapes, architecture and paintings. As early as 1825, the family visited France and Belgium. He developed a lifelong love of the Alps, and in 1835 visited Venice for the first time, that 'Paradise of cities' that provided the subject and symbolism of much of his later work.
These tours gave Ruskin the opportunity to observe and record his impressions of nature. He composed elegant, though mainly conventional poetry, some of which was published in Friendship's Offering. His early notebooks and sketchbooks are full of visually sophisticated and technically accomplished drawings of maps, landscapes and buildings, remarkable for a boy of his age. He was profoundly affected by Samuel Rogers's poem, Italy (1830), a copy of which was given to him as a 13th birthday present; in particular, he deeply admired the accompanying illustrations by J. M. W. Turner. Much of Ruskin's own art in the 1830s was in imitation of Turner, and of Samuel Prout, whose Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany (1833) he also admired.
Ruskin's journeys also provided inspiration for his writing. His first publication was the poem "On Skiddaw and Derwent Water" (August 1829). In 1834, three short articles for Loudon's Magazine of Natural History were published. They show early signs of his skill as a close "scientific" observer of nature, especially its geology.
From September 1837 to December 1838, Ruskin's The Poetry of Architecture was serialised in Loudon's Architectural Magazine, under the pen name "Kata Phusin" (Greek for "According to Nature"). It was a study of cottages, villas, and other dwellings centred on a Wordsworthian argument that buildings should be sympathetic to their immediate environment and use local materials. It anticipated key themes in his later writings. In 1839, Ruskin's "Remarks on the Present State of Meteorological Science" was published in Transactions of the Meteorological Society.
In 1836, Ruskin matriculated at the University of Oxford. Enrolled as a gentleman-commoner, he enjoyed equal status with his aristocratic peers. Ruskin was generally uninspired by Oxford and suffered bouts of illness, and he never became independent from his family during his time at Oxford. In April 1840, whilst revising for his examinations, he began to cough blood, which led to fears of consumption and a long break from Oxford travelling with his parents.
For much of the period from late 1840 to autumn 1842, Ruskin was abroad with his parents, mainly in Italy.
Back at Oxford, in 1842 Ruskin sat for a pass degree, and was awarded an uncommon honorary double fourth-class degree in recognition of his achievements.
Before Ruskin began Modern Painters, his father John James Ruskin had begun collecting watercolours, including works by Samuel Prout and J. M. W. Turner. Both painters were among occasional guests of the Ruskins. When Ruskin read an attack on several of Turner's pictures exhibited at the Royal Academy, he wrote a defence of Turner which finally appeared in 1903, as Turner did not wish it to be published.
What became the first volume of Modern Painters (1843) was Ruskin's answer to Turner's critics. Ruskin controversially argued that modern landscape painters—and in particular Turner—were superior to the so-called "Old Masters" of the post-Renaissance period. Ruskin maintained that, unlike Turner, Old Masters such as Gaspard Dughet (Gaspar Poussin), Claude, and Salvator Rosa favoured pictorial convention, and not "truth to nature". For Ruskin, modern landscapists demonstrated superior understanding of the "truths" of water, air, clouds, stones, and vegetation, a profound appreciation of which Ruskin demonstrated in his own prose.
Although critics were slow to react and the reviews were mixed, many notable literary and artistic figures were impressed with the young man's work, including Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell. Suddenly Ruskin had found his métier, and in one leap helped redefine the genre of art criticism, mixing a discourse of polemic with aesthetics, scientific observation and ethics. It cemented Ruskin's relationship with Turner.
Ruskin toured the continent with his parents again in 1844, visiting Paris, studying the geology of the Alps and the paintings of Titian, Veronese and Perugino among others at the Louvre.
In 1845, at the age of 26, he undertook to travel without his parents for the first time. It provided him with an opportunity to study medieval art and architecture in France, Switzerland and especially Italy. In Venice, he was particularly impressed by the works of Fra Angelico and Giotto in St Mark's Cathedral, and Tintoretto in the Scuola di San Rocco, but he was alarmed by the combined effects of decay and modernisation on the city.
Drawing on his travels, he wrote the second volume of Modern Painters (published April 1846). The volume concentrated on Renaissance and pre-Renaissance artists rather than on Turner. It was a more theoretical work than its predecessor. Ruskin explicitly linked the aesthetic and the divine, arguing that truth, beauty and religion are inextricably bound together. In defining categories of beauty and imagination, Ruskin argued that all great artists must perceive beauty and, with their imagination, communicate it creatively by means of symbolic representation.
During 1847, Ruskin became closer to Effie Gray, the daughter of family friends. It was for her that Ruskin had written The King of the Golden River, his only work of fiction, set in the Alpine landscape Ruskin loved and knew so well. It remains the most translated of all his works.
The couple were engaged in October. They married on 10 April 1848 at her home, Bowerswell, in Perth, once the residence of the Ruskin family. The European Revolutions of 1848 meant that the newlyweds' earliest travels together were restricted, but they were able to visit Normandy, where Ruskin admired the Gothic architecture.
Ruskin's developing interest in architecture, and particularly in the Gothic, led to the first work to bear his name, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849). It contained 14 plates etched by the author. The title refers to seven moral categories that Ruskin considered vital to and inseparable from all architecture: sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory and obedience. All would provide recurring themes in his work.
In November 1849, Effie and John Ruskin visited Venice, staying at the Hotel Danieli. For Effie, Venice provided an opportunity to socialise, while Ruskin was engaged in solitary studies. Ruskin was making the extensive sketches and notes that he used for his three-volume work The Stones of Venice (1851–53). Developing from a technical history of Venetian architecture from the Romanesque to the Renaissance, into a broad cultural history, Stones reflected Ruskin's view of contemporary England.
In 1848, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti had established the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The Pre-Raphaelite commitment to 'naturalism' – depicting nature in fine detail, had been influenced by Ruskin.
Millais had painted Effie for The Order of Release, 1746, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852. In the summer of 1853 John Everett Millais (and his brother) travelled to Scotland with Ruskin and Effie. She and Millais fell in love, and Effie left Ruskin, causing a public scandal.
In April 1854, Effie filed her suit of nullity, on grounds of "non-consummation" owing to his "incurable impotency", a charge Ruskin later disputed. The annulment was granted in July. Ruskin did not even mention it in his diary. Effie married Millais the following year. The complex reasons for the non-consummation and ultimate failure of the Ruskin marriage are a matter of enduring speculation and debate.
Ruskin continued to support Hunt and Rossetti as well as his wife Elizabeth to encourage her art. Other artists influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites also received both critical and financial support from Ruskin, including John Brett, John William Inchbold, and Edward Burne-Jones, who became a good friend.
Ruskin had been in Venice when he heard about Turner's death in 1851. Being named an executor to Turner's will was an honour that Ruskin respectfully declined, but later took up. Ruskin's book in celebration of the sea, The Harbours of England, revolving around Turner's drawings, was published in 1856.
In January 1857, Ruskin's Notes on the Turner Gallery at Marlborough House, 1856 was published. He persuaded the National Gallery to allow him to work on the Turner Bequest of nearly 20,000 individual artworks left to the nation by the artist.
Starting from the 1850s Ruskin was involved in teaching and became an increasingly popular public lecturer. His first public lectures were given in Edinburgh, in November 1853, on architecture and painting. Both volumes III and IV of Modern Painters were published in 1856.
During this period Ruskin wrote regular reviews of the annual exhibitions at the Royal Academy under the title Academy Notes (1855–59, 1875). They were highly influential, capable of making or breaking reputations.
Following his crisis of faith, and influenced in part by his friend Thomas Carlyle (whom he had first met in 1850), Ruskin shifted his emphasis in the late 1850s from art towards social issues. Nevertheless, he continued to lecture on and write about a wide range of subjects including art.
Ruskin was an art-philanthropist: in March 1861 he gave 48 Turner drawings to the Ashmolean in Oxford, and a further 25 to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge in May.
On his father's death in 1864, Ruskin inherited a considerable fortune of between £120,000 and £157,000 This considerable fortune gave him the means to engage in personal philanthropy and practical schemes of social amelioration.
Ruskin was unanimously appointed the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University in August 1869.
In Oxford, Ruskin's lectures were often so popular that they had to be given twice—once for the students, and again for the public. Most of them were eventually published. He lectured on a wide range of subjects at Oxford, his interpretation of "Art" encompassing almost every conceivable area of study.
In 1871, John Ruskin founded his own art school at Oxford, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. Ruskin endowed the drawing mastership with £5000 of his own money. He also established a large collection of drawings, watercolours and other materials (over 800 frames) that he used to illustrate his lectures.
That same year, Ruskin also founded his utopian society, the Guild of St George. A communitarian protest against nineteenth-century industrial capitalism, it had a hierarchical structure, with Ruskin as its Master, and dedicated members called "Companions". Ruskin wished to show that contemporary life could still be enjoyed in the countryside, with land being farmed by traditional means, in harmony with the environment, and with the minimum of mechanical assistance. He also sought to educate and enrich the lives of industrial workers by inspiring them with beautiful objects. As such, with a tithe (or personal donation) of £7,000, Ruskin acquired land and a collection of art treasures. Donations of land from wealthy and dedicated Companions eventually placed land and property in the Guild's care.
In principle, Ruskin worked out a scheme for different grades of "Companion", wrote codes of practice, described styles of dress and even designed the Guild's own coins. In reality, the Guild, which still exists today as a charitable education trust, has only ever operated on a small scale.
The Guild's most conspicuous and enduring achievement was the creation of a remarkable collection of art, minerals, books, medieval manuscripts, architectural casts, coins and other precious and beautiful objects.
In August 1871, Ruskin purchased the then somewhat dilapidated Brantwood house, on the shores of Coniston Water, in the English Lake District, paying £1500 for it. Brantwood was Ruskin's main home from 1872 until his death. His estate provided a site for more of his practical schemes and experiments: he had an ice house built, and the gardens comprehensively rearranged. He oversaw the construction of a larger harbour (from where he rowed his boat, the Jumping Jenny), and he altered the house (adding a dining room, a turret to his bedroom to give him a panoramic view of the lake, and he later extended the property to accommodate his relatives). He built a reservoir, and redirected the waterfall down the hills, adding a slate seat that faced the tumbling stream and craggy rocks rather than the lake, so that he could closely observe the fauna and flora of the hillside.
Ruskin had been introduced to the wealthy Irish La Touche family by Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford. Maria La Touche, a minor Irish poet and novelist, asked Ruskin to teach her daughters drawing and painting in 1858. Rose La Touche was ten. His first meeting came at a time when Ruskin's own religious faith was under strain. La Touche family prevented the two from meeting. A chance meeting at the Royal Academy in 1869 was one of the few occasions they came into personal contact. After a long illness, she died on 25 May 1875, at the age of 27. These events plunged Ruskin into despair and led to increasingly severe bouts of mental illness involving a number of breakdowns and delirious visions.
Ruskin turned to spiritualism. He attended seances at Broadlands. Ruskin's increasing need to believe in a meaningful universe and a life after death, both for himself and his loved ones, helped to revive his Christian faith in the 1870s.
In 1879, Ruskin resigned from Oxford, but resumed his Professorship in 1883, only to resign again in 1884.
In the 1880s, Ruskin returned to some literature and themes that had been among his favourites since childhood. He wrote about Scott, Byron and Wordsworth in Fiction, Fair and Foul (1880).
His last great work was his autobiography, Praeterita (1885–89) (meaning, 'Of Past Things'), a highly personalised, selective, eloquent but incomplete account of aspects of his life.
The period from the late 1880s was one of steady and inexorable decline. Gradually it became too difficult for him to travel to Europe. He suffered a complete mental collapse on his final tour, which included Beauvais, Sallanches and Venice, in 1888. The emergence and dominance of the Aesthetic movement and Impressionism distanced Ruskin from the modern art world, his ideas on the social utility of art contrasting with the doctrine of "l'art pour l'art" or "art for art's sake" that was beginning to dominate.
Although Ruskin's 80th birthday was widely celebrated in 1899, Ruskin was scarcely aware of it. He died at Brantwood from influenza on 20 January 1900 at the age of 80. He was buried five days later in the churchyard at Coniston, according to his wishes.
The contents of Ruskin's home were dispersed in a series of sales at auction, and Brantwood itself was bought in 1932 by the educationist and Ruskin enthusiast, collector and memorialist, John Howard Whitehouse who opened in 1934 as a memorial to Ruskin and it remains open to the public today. The Guild of St George continues to thrive as an educational charity, and has an international membership.
Ruskin's influence reached across the world. Tolstoy described him as "one of the most remarkable men not only of England and of our generation, but of all countries and times" and quoted extensively from him, rendering his ideas into Russian. Proust not only admired Ruskin but helped translate his works into French. Gandhi wrote of the "magic spell" cast on him by Unto This Last and paraphrased the work in Gujarati, calling it Sarvodaya, "The Advancement of All".
Theorists and practitioners in a broad range of disciplines acknowledged their debt to Ruskin. Architects including Le Corbusier, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Gropius incorporated his ideas in their work. Writers as diverse as Oscar Wilde, G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats and Ezra Pound felt Ruskin's influence.
William Morris and C. R. Ashbee (of the Guild of Handicraft) were keen disciples, and through them Ruskin's legacy can be traced in the arts and crafts movement.