London, South Kensington
2 June 2008
RUSKIN, John (1819-1900). Autograph letter signed to 'Mrs Cowper' [his confidante, Georgina Cowper-Temple, later Lady Mount-Temple], n.p., 'Friday evening' , 3½ pages, 8vo, on half-mourning paper (remnant of mount on last page, with loss of one word); with an envelope addressed to the same recipient, postmarked 31 March 1870.
A RATHER DIRTY SPIRITUALIST. Ruskin has been to visit the spiritualist William Robert Bertolacci [author of Christian Spiritualism: wherein is shown the extension of the human faculties by the application of spiritual phenomena (1864)], and is less than impressed: 'He was ill (-- why does he not cure himself?) -- he came down to me in a dirty dressing gown -- the room was all dirty and in disorder -- torn and dog-eared books on the table -- a general air of squalor and discomfort which the poorest wayside cottage would have been Paradise-like in comparison of: He talks -- pleasingly -- eagerly -- but wildly -- the girls say little and seem to know little -- Caroline's drawing is ludicrously bad ... anything less like a Baptism with any sort of Water or Spirit or Fire I never saw in outward aspect than that household -- and yet there is an impossibility of supposing them cheats'. Ruskin goes on to remember other distinguished acquaintances who are not marked out by tidyness: 'Turner's house was foully dirty -- Rossetti's garden is full of horrible weeds -- Edward Jones himself keeps his room in a litter and all over dust -- How many brilliant and perfect beings in outward favour[?] and household discipline -- are as hard as flint -- as dishonest as sand!', ending with further sceptical remarks about spiritualism.
Ruskin's letters to Lord and Lady Mount-Temple have been published (ed. John Lewis Bradley, 1964). (2)
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
An exceptional example of the most valuable illustrated book ever produced — and an icon of American art — will be offered on 14 June to benefit conservation causes
Books and Manuscripts specialist Heather Pisani delves into intimate letters written by the sister of Orville and Wilbur Wright, offered in New York on 14 June
Mark Wiltshire, Associate Specialist in Science & Books, walks us through the history of Christianity’s most influential printed text
From Surrey to Sydney, 5 homes around the world created by titans of 20th-century architecture — all from Christie’s International Real Estate
PurseBop outlines the four stages that mark the evolution of an Hermès connoisseur, and the bags that accompany each