- Extended Catalogue Entry
by James Northcote
oil on linen, 1822
49 7/8 in. x 39 3/4 in. (1267 mm x 1010 mm)
Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund, 1988
Sitterback to top
- John Ruskin (1819-1900), Writer, artist and social reformer. Sitter associated with 82 portraits.
Artistback to top
- James Northcote (1746-1831), Painter; pupil and biographer of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Artist associated with 103 portraits, Sitter associated with 23 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Ruskin, the only son of a prosperous wine shipper, became the most influential art theorist of the nineteenth century. Deeply impressed by the work of Turner, whose paintings were frequently reviled by the art press, Ruskin came to prominence with Modern Painters, the first volume of which was published in 1843. This portrait of him as a child was commissioned by his father. At the time the Ruskin family lived in Hunter Street, near the British Museum, and Ruskin sat to Northcote in his studio in Argyll Street. The resulting portrait cost forty guineas and was described by Ruskin in his autobiography Praeterita (1885-9): 'I am represented as running in a field at the edge of a wood with the trunks of its trees striped across in the manner of Sir Joshua Reynolds; whilst two rounded hills, as blue as my shoes, appear in the distance, which were put in by the painter at my own request; for I had already been once, if not twice, taken to Scotland'.
Related worksback to top
- NPG x12197: View of James Northcote's painting of John Ruskin in John Ruskin's home (includes the portrait)
Linked publicationsback to top
- The British Portrait, 1660-1960, 1991, p. 249 number 238
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 538
Placesback to top
- Place made: United Kingdom: England, London (artist's studio, Argyll Street, London)
Events of 1822back to top
Current affairsLord Castlereagh (the Marquis of Londonderry) commits suicide after a blackmail campaign against him.
Tory cabinet joined by liberals George Canning and Robert Peel. Canning is appointed Foreign Secretary.
Art and scienceJohn Nash completes the remodelling of the King's villa, the Brighton Pavilion and begins plans for the new layout of Regent Street and Regent's Park.
The Caledonian Canal opens to link eastern to western Scotland.
The Sunday Times is founded.
InternationalDavid Wilkie exhibits celebrated Chelsea Pensioners at the Royal Academy to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. It proves so popular a rail has to be erected to protect it.
First major failure of the potato crop in Ireland. A large-scale public works programme is implemented to provide employment.