Principal Dates In John Ruskin's Life (1819-1900)

18198 February, Ruskin born in London, the son of John James Ruskin and Margaret Ruskin (nee Cox)
1823The family moves to Herne Hill, south of London
1825First continental tour (Paris, Brussels, Waterloo)
1826 Begins writing poetry
1832 Receives Samuel Rogers' Italy as a birthday present. Illustrated with vignettes by Turner, the book begins the central enthusiasm of Ruskin's life
1833 Continental tour includes first visit to Switzerland, notably to the Vale of Chamonix, one of 'my two bournes of earth'
1834 Begins life-long study of Alpine geology. Two essays on geology — his first published works — appear in the Magazine of Natural History
1835 Continental tour includes first visit to his other bourne of earth, Italy, and, more specifically, Venice
1836Falls sentimentally in love with Adele Domecq, daughter of his father's French partner. Writes essay defending Turner against his critics in the reviews but does not publish it. Goes up to Christ Church, Oxford
1837Publishes The Poetry of Architecture (1837-8) in the Architectural Magazine
1839 Meets Turner. Suffers from depression and suspected consumption and goes on long tour with parents to recover health. First visit to Rome
1841 Returns to England and meets distant cousin, Euphemia ('Effie') Gray. Writes The King o f the Golden River for her
1842 Returns to Oxford and takes B.A. Family moves to Denmark Hill, London. Ruskin begins Modern Painters
1843 Modern Painters I published anonymously ('by a Graduate of Oxford')
1845First continental tour without parents. Realizes the greatness of early Italian painting and discovers Tintoretto
1846Publishes Modern Painters II
1848 Marries Effie Gray. They tour Normandy together, Ruskin studying Gothic architecture. He begins The Seven Lamps of Architecture
1849 Long stay in Venice (1849-50); begins systematic study of Venetian architecture. Publishes The Seven Lamps of Architecture . Embarks on The Stones of Venice
1851 Meets Carlyle. Publishes The Stones of Venice I. Sees first Pre-Raphaelite pictures at the Royal Academy and writes letter to The Times defending them against their critics. Returns to Venice for second long stay (1851-2). Turner dies; Ruskin is named executor in his will
1852 Social criticism begins with three letters on social and economic problems intended for publication in The Times, but John James suppresses them
1853 The Stones of Venice II and III published. Spends summer with Effie and J. E. Millais at Glenfinlas. Effie and Millais fall in love. Ruskin delivers his first lectures in Edinburgh (Lectures on Architecture and Painting, published 1854)
1854Marriage annulled on grounds of non-consummation. Ruskin begins lecturing at the Working Men's College. Friendship with Rossetti begins
1855Begins working with Benjamin Woodward on designs for the new Museum of Natural History in Oxford; Ruskin takes charge of the sculptural schemes. Effie marries Millais. Ruskin begins the series of Academy Notes, an annual commentary on the Royal Academy exhibitions
1856 Publishes Modern Painters 111 and IV and The Harbours of England
1857 Publishes The Elements of Drawing. Lectures on The Political Economy of Art in Manchester. Begins sorting and cataloguing the drawings in the Turner bequest (1857-8)
1858 Lectures on 'The Work of Iron'. Meets the nine-year-old Rose La Touche, with whom he is soon to fall in love. In Turin experiences an 'unconversion' which turns him against his rigid Protestantism and undermines his belief in Christianity
1859 Publishes The Two Paths and The Elements of Perspective.Meets Margaret Bell, the headmistress of a progressive girls' school in Cheshire, Winnington Hall; is affected by her ideas and becomes a regular visitor to the school (until 1868)
1860 Publishes Modern Painters V and, at Chamonix, begins Unto this Last. The latter serialized in the Cornhill Magazine, but hostile public reaction halts publication prematurely
1862Unto this Last appears in book form
1863Munera Pulveris serialized in Fraser's Magazine
1864Death of John James Ruskin. Ruskin's cousin Joan Agnew comes to live at Denmark Hill and takes care of Ruskin and his mother for the rest of their lives. The lectures 'Traffic' and 'Of Kings' Treasuries' delivered
1865Sesame and Lilies published. Joins Carlyle in forming a Defence and Aid Fund in support of Governor Eyre, who has ruthlessly suppressed an insurrection in Jamaica and is now in danger of impeachment
1866 Proposes marriage to Rose La Touche, but she postpones her decision. Publishes The Ethics of the Dust, a dialogue on crystallography written for the girls at Winnington, and The Crown of Wild Olive
1867 Publishes Time and Tide, a book of letters on 'the Laws of Work' addressed to Thomas Dixon, a cork-cutter of Sunderland
1869 Publishes The Queen of the Air, lectures on classical mythology. Elected first Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford
1870 First series of Slade Lectures on Art
1871Begins publishing Fors Clavigera in monthly instalments. Founds the St George's Fund for the renewal of England and undertakes to pay a tithe of his income to it. Endows drawing mastership at Oxford and begins the Ruskin Art Collection there. Purchases Brantwood on Coniston Water, which now becomes his main residence. Begins series of social experiments, notably a housing scheme in Marylebone run by Octavia Hill. Margaret Ruskin dies, ninety years old
1872 Publishes Aratra Pentelici (on sculpture) and The Eagle's Nest (on science and art). Rose La Touche seriously ill both physically and mentally; she finally rejects Ruskin's proposal
1873 Publishes Love's Meinie (1873-81) and Ariadne Florentina. The former, a study of birds, is the first of three books on natural history
1874Publishes Val d'Arno, lectures on Tuscan sculpture. In Assisi to study the Giotto frescoes, Ruskin recovers his Christian faith while living in a sacristan's cell
1875Publishes first instalments of Mornings in Florence (1875-7) and the other two books on natural history, Proserpina and Deucalion. Founds the Sheffield Museum, Walkley. Rose La Touche dies insane. Ruskin gives only one series of lectures at Oxford and is excused his duties till 1877
1876 Begins editing his Bibliotheca Pastorum (1876-85): the first volume is the Economist of Xenophon. In Venice, meets Count Alvise Zorzi; together they campaign to save St Mark's from proposed 'restorations'. A series of hallucinations in Venice at Christmas-time anticipates mental collapse
1877 Begins publishing St Mark's Rest (1877-84), on Venice. In Fors Clavigera accuses Whistler of asking 'two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face'; Whistler sues him for libel
1878 First mental breakdown. Suspends publication of Fors Clavigera. Fined a farthing damages for libelling Whistler and, in protest, resigns professorship
1880 Resumes publication of Fors Clavigera, which continues intermittently until 1884. Begins publishing The Bible of Amiens (1880-85) and Fiction, Fair and Foul (1880-81)
1881 Carlyle dies
1882 Rossetti dies
1883Resumes Slade professorship after a year without mental attacks
1884 Publishes The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century, a visionary account of the disturbance of natural order in modern times
1885Resigns professorship in protest against vivisection in the University of Oxford. Begins publishing his autobiography, Praeterita (1885-9)
1888 Last continental tour
1889 Praeterita concluded prematurely after his last and most severe attack of madness. He survives another ten years, incapacitated, living in seclusion and virtual silence
1900 Dies at Brantwood of influenza, 20 January. Buried in Coniston churchyard