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The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to the British neo-Romantic tradition, from 1880 to the present day.

While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden tradition to light.

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 WHAT IS NEO-ROMANTICISM ?

  Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration   from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.   Characteristic themes in their work include a   mystical approach to the British landscape...

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  This is the online   Encyclopedia-BNR,   version 0.5 beta.

  Contact the editor.
INDEX OF ENTRIES:

1880-1920:


  Fiction:

George Macdonald.
Lewis Carroll.
John Ruskin.
Christina Rosetti.
Rudyard Kipling.
William Morris.
Richard Jefferies.
Edward Carpenter.
Kenneth Grahame.
Arthur Machen.
Algernon Blackwood.
'Saki'.

  Poetry:

G.M. Hopkins.
W.B. Yeats.
A.E. Housman
Laurence Binyon.

  Music:

Gustav Holst.
Vaughan Williams.
Edward Elgar.
Granville Bantock.

  Painting:

Edward Burne-Jones.
Maxwell Armfield.
Mark Symons.
John Duncan.
George Henry.
  & Edward Atkinson
  Cornell.

Gerald Moira.
Robert Bateman.
Samuel Palmer.
Walter Crane.
Edward Robert Hughes.
Bernard Sleigh.
Eleanor Fortescue
  -Brickdale.

Nathaniel Sparks.
F.C. Robinson.
Reginald Hallward.
Laurence Housman.
James Joshua Guthrie.
Paul Nash.
Charles Mahoney.
Arthur Rackham.
Thomas Cooper Gotch.
Christopher Wood.

  Movements:

Symbolism.
Aesthetic movement.
Birmingham Group.
Neo-gothic architecture.
Pictorialism.
Fairy & ghost photos.


1920s - 'places to hide':

Ballet design.
Book illustration.
The Kibbo Kift.


1930-to-1955:


  Fiction:

John Cowper Powys.
J.R.R. Tolkien.
Mervyn Peake.
C.S. Lewis.
Daphne du Maurier.
Mary Webb.
Herbert Read.
Forrest Reid
T.H. White.
Hugh Walpole.

  Non-fiction:

Robert Graves.
Rev. Francis Kilvert.
Geoffrey Grigson.
Bill Brandt.
Roger Mayne.
John Deakin.
Nikolaus Pevsner.

  Music:

Arnold Bax.
Vaughan Williams.

  Painting:

John Piper.
John Craxton.
John Minton.
David Jones.
Graham Sutherland.
Stanley Spencer.
Eric Ravilious.
Ralph Chubb.
Charles Mahoney.
Michael Ayrton.
Thomas Monnington.

  Poetry:

Dylan Thomas.
Edwin Smith.
Ithell Colquhoun.
Francis Berry.
George Barker.
Laurence Whistler.

  Film:

Humphrey Jennings.
Powell & Pressburger.
David Lean.
Epic British film music.

 


 

 

 

   ENTRY: Ruskin, John

   John Ruskin was born in London, and raised in south London, the son of a wine importer. He was educated at home, and entered the University of Oxford without proper qualifications for a degree. He nevertheless impressed the scholars of Christ Church after he won the Newdigate prize for poetry, his earliest interest. In consequence, he was awarded a degree.

   He published his first book Modern Painters in 1843, under the anonymous identity "An Oxford Graduate". It argued that modern romantic landscape painters — in particular J.M.W. Turner — were superior to the so-called "Old Masters" of the Renaissance. Such a claim was highly controversial, especially as Turner's semi-abstract late works were then being denounced as 'meaningless daubs'. Ruskin argued that these works derived from Turner's profound understanding of nature. He soon met and befriended Turner, eventually becoming one of the executors of his will.

   Ruskin followed this book with a second volume, developing his ideas about symbolism in art. He then turned to architecture, writing The Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice, both of which argued that architecture cannot be separated from morality, and that the "Decorated Gothic" style was the highest form of architecture yet achieved. By this time Ruskin was writing in his own name, and had become the most famous cultural theorist of his day.

   In 1848, he married Effie Gray, for whom he wrote the early fantasy novel The King of the Golden River. Their marriage was notoriously unhappy, eventually being annulled in 1854. Effie later married the artist John Everett Millais, who had been Ruskin's protegé.

   The Pre-Raphaelites were influenced by Ruskin's theories. As a result, the critic wrote letters to The Times defending their work, later meeting them. Other artists influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites also received both written and financal support from him, including John Brett, Burne-Jones and John William Inchbold.

   Upon the death of his father, Ruskin declared that it was not possible to be a rich socialist and gave away most of his inheritance. He founded the charity known as the Guild of St George in the 1870s and endowed it with large sums of money as well as a remarkable collection of art. He also gave the money to enable Octavia Hill to begin her practical campaign of housing reform. He also taught at the Working Men's College, London and was the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford, from 1869 to 1879, he also served a second term. Ruskin College, Oxford is named after him.

   While at Oxford Ruskin became friendly with Lewis Carroll, another don, and was photographed by him. After the parting of Carroll and Alice Liddell, she and her sisters pursued a similar relationship with Ruskin, as detailed in Ruskin's autobiography Praeterita.

   During this period Ruskin fell deeply in love with Rose la Touche, an intensely religious young girl. He met her in 1858, when she was ten years old, proposed to her eight years later, and was finally rejected in 1872. She died shortly afterwards. These events plunged Ruskin into despair and led to bouts of mental illness. In later life he suffered from a number of breakdowns as well as delirious visions, and took up forms of utopian spiritualism.

   The emergence of Impressionism in painting alienated Ruskin from the art world, and his later writings were increasingly seen as irrelevant to contemporary art, especially as he seemed to be more interested in fantasy book illustators such as Kate Greenaway than in modern art. Much of his later life was spent at a house called Brantwood, on the shores of Coniston Water located in the Lake District of England, amid intermittent bouts of madness.

   His most famous dictum was "go to nature in all singleness of heart, rejecting nothing and selecting nothing." He was the inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Movement, the founding of the National Trust, the National Art Collections Fund and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. In this, as well as the revival of ancient English arts such as maypole dancing, he can be said to have greatly aided the preservation of the ancient fabric of England.

   Ruskin's range was vast. He wrote over 250 works which started from art history, but expanded to cover topics ranging over science, geology, ornithology, literary criticism, the environmental effects of pollution, and mythology. Ruskin's influence extends far beyond the field of art history.

   After his death Ruskin's works were collected together in a massive "library edition", completed in 1912 by his friends Edward Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. Its index is famously elaborate almost to the point of being hypertext, attempting to articulate the complex interconnectedness of Ruskin's thought.

Selected works relevant to neo-romanticism and to Englishness:

The King of the Golden River (1841)
Pre-Raphaelitism (1851)
Praeterita (1889)

Further reading:

The definitive two-volume biography:-
 Tim Hilton. John Ruskin: The Early Years (1985)
 Tim Hilton. John Ruskin: The Later Years (2000)

 Wolfgang Kemp. The Desire of My Eyes (1990)
 Guy Davenport. "Ruskin" (essay)


~

INDEX OF ENTRIES:

1955-to-1975:

  Painting:

Leslie Hurry.
Robin Tanner.
Ceri Richards.
Michael Ayrton.


  Classical music:

Havergal Brian.
Benjamin Britten.

  Poetry:

Dylan Thomas   (reputation).
Vernon Watkins.
Ted Hughes.
Christopher Logue.
Keith Vaughan.
Ore magazine.
Eric Ratcliffe.
Edwin Morgan.
Roland Mathias.

  Fiction:

Laurie Lee.
Alan Garner.
John Gordon.

  Non-fiction:

Laurie Lee.
E.P. Thompson.
J.A. Baker.
Geoffrey Grigson.


1975-to-2000:


  Photography:

Fay Godwin.
James Ravilious.
Raymond Moore.
Andy Goldsworthy.

  Popular music:

Robert Wyatt.
Syd Barrett.
Marc Bolan.
John Foxx.
Throbbing Gristle.
Genesis P. Orridge.
The Dancing Did.
Virginia Astley.
Brian Eno.
Roger Eno.

  Classical music:

Dave Heath.

  Illustration:

Clifford Harper.

  Film:

Derek Jarman.
David Rudkin.

  Fashion:

Vivienne Westwood.

  Literature:

Angela Carter.
Ted Hughes.
Peter Ackroyd.
Heathcote Williams.
Keith Roberts.
Richard Cowper.
Robert Holdstock.
Susan Cooper.

  Poetry:

Kathleen Raine.
Roland Mathias.
Gwyn Thomas.
R.S. Thomas.
George Mackay
  Brown.

Seamus Heaney.
Pauline Stainer.

  Artists:

Graham Ovenden.
Annie Ovenden.
Ann Arnold.
Robert Lenkiewicz.
John Elwyn.
Cecil Collins.
Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Andrew Logan.
Alan Reynolds.
Norman Ackroyd.
Christopher P. Wood.
Jim Leon.

  Groups & circles:

The Ruralists.
Temenos magazine.
Resurgence magazine.
Crop Circles, makers.
English Underground.


2000 - to the present:

Andrew Logan.
Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Vivienne Westwood.
Andy Goldsworthy.
Christopher Bucklow.
Peter Ackroyd.
Pauline Stainer.
Brian Eno.
Roger Eno.
Jon Aldersea.
Christopher P. Wood.
Made in Staffordshire, England.  © 2007. Last updated: 18th Jan 2007. Site search by PicoSearch.
Some of the initial E-BNR text was sourced or partly derived from Wikipedia, used here under the GNU licence.