John Ruskin and London
John Ruskin (1819–1900), the preeminent British art critic of his period, was a Londoner by birth, but his relationship to London is complicated, as was the significance of this response to the traditions of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European writing on the city. By the end of his life, Ruskin had come to see London as the visible manifestation of the ills of both Victorian society and the industrial-capitalist system which produced this kind of modern city.
Ruskin was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square in Bloomsbury, where he spent the first 4 years of his life, before the family moved south of the Thames to Camberwell in 1823. Ruskin grew up at 28 Herne Hill, a large suburban semidetached property, which he recalls fondly as “a rustic eminence” in his autobiography, Praeterita(1885–1889). Both church and school were in the capital: the family initially attended Beresford Street Congregationalist Church, Walworth, hearing the...
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