Jim Dearden's latest book, A John Ruskin Collection, brings together a lifetime's worth of articles on the lives of John Ruskin and those around him. In each, Dearden's vast knowledge of Ruskin and exceptional capacity for recollection deftly and sensitively illuminate his subjects, moving through both their emotional, intellectual and artistic lives and their everyday domestic routines. We are guided through Ruskin's portraits of Rose La Touche, asked to consider why he sold Turner's The Slave Ship, invited to investigate how his father, John James Ruskin, travelled to his office, or provided with a window, onto the lives of the Severn family while at Brantwood, using their drawings and sketches. As Tim Hilton describes in his Preface, the result is like reading an incredibly elaborate family history. However, through his sensitive and precise investigations, and his tireless appetite for detail, Dearden not only helps us to understand the lives of Ruskin and his family, friends and servants, but also achieves an impressive evocation of the nature of nineteenth-century life. This book will captivate readers who enjoy the interweavings of a life well studied, whether they are new to Ruskin or already well immersed.
Jim Dearden has spent a lifetime working with the great legacy of John Ruskin, from his schooldays under the leading Rusking collector, John Howard Whitehouse, to his recent, magisterial study, The Library of John Ruskin. He returned to his alma mater and became curator of the Ruskin Galleries there and he has been a dedicated Companion, Director and Master of Ruskin's Guild of St George.