Study of ivy - Hedera helix; with rocks and mosses

John Ruskin

After 1872

Watercolour on paper, with touches of bodycolour over graphite

H 455 mm x W 347 mm

© British Museum

Inscribed on verso: "Study of ivy - Coniston"

Ruskin loved ivy and encouraged aspiring artists to study the way it runs up tree trunks: "In woods, one or two trunks, with the flowery ground below, are at once the richest and easiest kind of study: a not very thick trunk, say nine inches or a foot in diameter, with ivy running up it sparingly, is an easy, and always a rewarding subject" (109). The ivy here is growing up a mossy boulder, with signs of fissures and weathering, but the central trail of ivy is still the main focus.

Image kindly released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence. Commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee.