On Wednesday 11 July, Martin Fidler undertook a reprise of the Ruskin Walk that was commissioned by the Camberwell Festival of Arts in 2007. Since the original ‘Drawing the Ruskin Walk’ took place, the Ruskin Walk has developed in ways that Martin scarcely imagined at the time. The greatest impetus has been in the last 18 months, since Andrew Stuck of Rethinking Cities and curator of the Museum of Walking, commissioned a Ruskin Walk for an event held at the South London Gallery in March last year.
Andrew saw the potential of broadening the audience and appeal of the Ruskin Walk – in which participants, step out as if in the character of John Ruskin, Victorian polymath and long time resident of Camberwell to investigate and explore a neighbourhood. Martin led a group of housing and public health professionals through the streets of Camberwell from Denmark Hill station to the South London Gallery, encouraging them to observe their surroundings as if they were John Ruskin. It proved so popular, that Andrew and Martin have won commissions from the Geologists Association, MUF Architects, University College London’s Bartlett Planning School and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to undertake further Ruskin Walks.
Ruskin’s life in Camberwell and how his critical techniques have influenced our approach to artistic interpretation, continue to intrigue as was witnessed on the latest Ruskin Walk.
Participants expressed their enthusiasm for the topics discussed as well as the opportunities to practice their drawing and improve on their observational skills.
“Great fun. Very relaxed. Nice people. Learned a lot.”
“Wonderful walk. I would like to join again.“
John Ruskin’s influence was much more than in his interpretation of architecture or understanding of how neighbourhood layout could influence housing and improve residents’ well-being. He is well known as the champion of W. S. Turner and an acknowledged promoter of the works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
So it is an exciting opportunity for Martin and Andrew to present a Ruskin Walk from Leighton House Museum in Holland park as part of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s acclaimed InTRANSIT art festival.
Leighton House is one of the most remarkable buildings of the 19th century. The house was the former home and studio of the leading Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) and it was extended and embellished over a period of 30 years to create a private palace of art. Leighton house became a focal point for the pre-Raphaelites and John Ruskin was one of its most public admirers. This summer it is exhibiting works from the Schaeffer Collection of Pre-Raphaelite art, a taster of course, for Tate Britain’s widely anticipated Pre-Raphaelite show opening this autumn.
All are welcome to join the Ruskin Walk from Leighton House Museum in Holland Park Road at 6.00pm on Thursday 26 July – on line booking is essential: