The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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John Ruskin, 1819-1900

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1819.02.08
Place of Birth: London
Date of Death: 1900.01.20
Place of Death: Brantwood


John Ruskin was a critic, social reformer and artist. In 1848 he married Euphemia Gray but this was later annulled.


Ruskin promoted Turner and the PreRaphaelites. His criticism of JW's Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170), published in July 1877, resulted in the libel case brought by Whistler against him. Whistler v. Ruskin was heard at the Old Bailey on 25 and 26 November 1878. This resulted in JW being awarded one farthing in damages, a primary cause of his bankruptcy. In December, JW published his account of the trial, the first of his brown-paper pamphlets, Whistler, James McNeill, Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics, London, 1878. This was reprinted in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.


Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213; Merrill, Linda, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in 'Whistler v. Ruskin', Washington and London, 1992; Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004.