John Ruskin (1819 –1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy. His early elaborate style was later superseded by a preference for plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. He constantly emphasised the connections between nature, art and society, and made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, and architectural structures and ornamentation. Ruskin first came to widespread attention with the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), an extended essay in defence of the work of J. M. W. Turner in which he argued that the principal role of the artist is "truth to nature". From the 1850s he championed the Pre-Raphaelites. His work increasingly focused on social and political issues. Cook's biography draws on Ruskin's diaries, note-books and letters perused after Ruskin's death, together with conversations with those who knew him.
Two volumes. 1911. First edition with 2 portraits. No dustjackets. Blue cloth covers in pretty good condition with some marks. Spine good and strong with rubbing and some tears to the top of both volumes. Inside covers browned and foxed, with owner's name inside one of the volumes. Inside pages good and clean with only slight foxing in places. In all in good condition.