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    Sale 5315

    Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts including Modern First Editions

    13 November 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 324

    RUSKIN, John (1819-1900). Autograph letter signed ('J. Ruskin') to 'my dearest Mary', Denmark Hill, 22 August 1870, 4 pages, 8vo (slight browning along folds on final leaf).

    Price Realised  

    RUSKIN, John (1819-1900). Autograph letter signed ('J. Ruskin') to 'my dearest Mary', Denmark Hill, 22 August 1870, 4 pages, 8vo (slight browning along folds on final leaf).

    Reflections on happiness: 'Good happiness is wonderfully like a tree -- which, the larger it is, can grow the more'. Ruskin writes in the role of 'school-papa' (perhaps to a pupil at Winnington Hall School in Cheshire), reproaching himself for not having added to Mary's happiness by writing to her ('how papas do flatter themselves -- don't they?'), refecting on her past hardships and future marriage ('I do really think he's very nice ... such a very happy thing to be married to anybody -- no matter whom') and on his conviction that those who have been unhappy in youth have greater, contrasted pleasures when older.

    An affectionate letter in which Ruskin declares his depth of feeling for Mary and for another pupil, Dora. Ruskin had become a teacher at Margaret Bell's progressive school for girls (Winnington Hall, Cheshire) in 1859; the 'playful relationship of master and pupil characterised his letters to several female correspondents' (ODNB).


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