The Ruskin Library is a library of the University of Lancaster which houses the Whitehouse Collection of material relating to the English poet, author and artist John Ruskin and his circle. This collection was formed by John Howard Whitehouse, Liberal Member of Parliament.
John Ruskin was a leading Victorian writer, critic, artist and social thinker – a keen supporter of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of wide-ranging work by Victorian artists and a seriously talented painter in his own right. Ruskin’s ideas both shaped the cultural ideology of his day, and preempted modern preoccupations including climate change, sustainability and the decline of traditional skills. The Ruskin Library, alongside Brantwood, Ruskin’s home in the Lake District, houses the world’s largest collection of Ruskin’s works including 1,500 drawings and prints, as well as photographs, daguerreotypes, letters, manuscripts and paintings. The RIBA Award-winning building, designed by Sir Richard MacCormac, was intended to echo Ruskin’s fascination with Venice; built at the entrance to Lancaster University, just south of Lancaster itself, the library, museum and research centre benefits from dramatic views towards the sea. A double height entrance leads on to the archive storage, reading room, offices and public gallery spaces beyond, preserving and presenting the work of a man whose ideas helped define an era.