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1819        John Ruskin is born in London on 8 February to John James and Margaret Cox Ruskin.

1836        Resides in Oxford, accompanied by his mother, until 1840. Publishes a series of articles entitled 'The Poetry of Architecture' in the Architectural Magazine (1837-8).

1839        Wins the Newdigate Prize for poetry at Oxford with Salsette and Elephanta. Meets Wordsworth.

1840        First meets Turner. Falls ill, possibly with consumption, and leaves Oxford for a foreign tour with parents which lasts from September until June. Meets Georgianna Tollemache, later Lady Mount-Temple, who remains one of his closest friends.

1841        Writes The King of the Golden River for Euphemia Chalmers Gray, whom he marries in 1848.

1843        Publishes first volume of Modern Painters anonymously in May.

1844        Revises Modern Painters I, deleting much of its polemics. Reads A. F. Rio's La Poesie de l'art chrétienne and continues studies of botonay and geology. Purchases Turner's The Slave Ship.

1846        Publishes Modern Painters, Volume II, which marks a new departure in his thought.

1847        Reviews Lord Lindsay's Sketches of the History of Christian Art in the June Quarterly Review. Unknown to Ruskin, Modern Painters II inspires William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti to emulate Tintoretto's fusions of visual realism and elaborate symbolism.

1848        Marries Euphemia Chalmers Gray, a distant cousin, on 10 April, after which he and his wife tour Normandy. Studies Gothic architecture.

1849        Publishes The Seven Lamps of Architecture. Works in Venice studying the city's architecture and history from November until March 1850.

1850        Publishes Collected Poems and The King of the Golden River, which is, however, dated the following year.

1851        Publishes the first volume of The Stones of Venice, 'Notes on the Construction of Sheepfolds', and Pre-Raphaelitism. Defends Hunt and Millais in letters to The Times after Coventry Patmore points out their work to him. Meets Millais, Rossetti, Hunt, and other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Works in Venice from September until June 1852 on The Stones of Venice. Turner dies, having made Ruskin a trustee of his will.

1853        The second and third volumes of The Stones of Venice are published. Travels with wife, Millais, and Millais's brother in Scottish Highlands.

1854        Marriage annulled on grounds of non-consummation. (The following year Effie marries Millais.) Begins lecturing on art at the newly founded Working Men's College and becomes friendly with D. G. Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddall. Writes letters to The Times defending Pre-Raphaelite painting. Publishes Lectures on Art and Architecture delivered in Edinburgh the previous year.

1855        Begins Academy Notes, annual reviews of the June Royal Academy Exhibition which continue until 1859 (with a single issue in 1875). Meets Tennyson.

1856        Publishes the third and fourth volumes of Modern Painters, which concern the rise of Romantic art and attitudes towards landscape. Meets Charles Eliot Norton, his American friend, disciple, and popularizer.

1857        Publishes The Elements of Drawing and The Political Economy of Art. Lectures extensively and studies works in Turner bequest.

1858        Meets and falls in love with Rose La Touche. Decisively abandons his Protestant religious faith in Turin.

1860        Completes the final volume of Modern Painters and publishes political and social criticism in the Cornhill Magazine, but protests by readers prompt Thackeray, the editor, to limit Ruskin to four articles later published as Unto This Last (1862).

1862        Publishes "Essays on Political Economy" in Fraser's Magazine (1862-3); these are published in book form as Munera Pulveris in 1872.

1864        Ruskin's father dies on 2 March and leave him considerable wealth. Writes and delivers "Traffic" and "Of King's Treasuries."

1865        Publishes Sesame and Lilies.

1866        Publishes The Crown of Wild Olive and The Ethics of the Dust, this last work a series of dialogues with children explaining geology based upon his occasional teaching at the Winnington School. Ruskin's proposal of marriage to Rose La Touch begins a decade of frustration and emotional turmoil.

1867        Publishes Time and Tide, letters to a British labourer about social and political issues. Becomes friendly with the social worker Octavia Hill.

1869        Publishes The Queen of the Air, a study of Greek myth which expands idea found in the closing volumes of Modern Painters. Appointed the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford.

1871        Purchases Brantwood near Coniston in the Lake District from the radical W. J. Linton. Undertakes social experiments including street sweeping in London and road mending in Oxford. Begins publication of Fors Clavigera, which continues in monthly parts until 1878, after which it apears intermittently. Is serously ill, with mental and physical illnesses, at Matlock. Mother dies 5 December.

1875        Rose dies, insane, at age twenty-seven.

1878        Founds the Guild of St. George. Suspends Fors after an attack of madness in the spring and is unable to testify in Whistler v. Ruskin in November.

1879        Resigns Slade Profesorship at Oxford, in large part because of Whistler v. Ruskin.

1880        Recovering from attacks of madness, he resumes Fors and begins 'Fiction, Fair and Foul', a series that appears intermittently in the Nineteenth Century until October 1881. Publishes A Joy For Ever, an expanded version of The Political Economy of Art (1857).

1883        Resumes Professorship at Oxford after re-election and lectures on The Art of England, which contains extensive comments on Hunt, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, and other Victorian artists.

1884        Delivers "The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century" as a lecture at the London Institution and begins to publish the Oxford lectures entitled The Pleasures of England. Publishes The Art of England in book form. Frequently experiences mental turmoil.

1885        Continues publication of The Pleasures of England and publishes Praeterita, his autobiography, which appeared intermittently in parts until July 1889. Mental illness forces temporary cessation of writing.

1886        Suffers attacks of mental illness.

1900        Dies of influenza on 20 January and is buried in Coniston churchyard.

Last modified 30 April 2024