On a recent trip to the Lake District, wet and windy weather gave me and my husband the perfect excuse to leave the fells and visit Brantwood, the home of the Victorian artist, art critic, writer and philanthropist, John Ruskin, (1819-1900).
Ruskin was an influential figure on art, politics and conservation during the 19th century and his writings embraced a wide variety of subjects from art to politics. Ruskin famously highlighted the need for a social conscience during the Victorian era of industrial pollution, great poverty and difficult working conditions as well as the importance of preserving heritage and traditional craftsmanship.
The visit was made excellent by the beautiful artworks from his collection on the walls, the views of Lake Coniston in the fading autumn light and not least because so many of his furnishings and possessions were present. It felt as if Ruskin had only recently left the room and the breadth and passion of his interests was apparent throughout this small but elegant house.
If you find yourself in the Lakes, faced with wet weather and a slippery climb up a peaty hill, I recommend visiting Brantwood. John’s influence and ideas still resonate today and made an experience to remember.