A Vineyard Walk at Lucca by John Ruskin. 1874. Graphite, watercolour and bodycolour on white paper, 35.6 x 48 cm. Collection: Ruskin Foundation (RF 1553), Ruskin Library, Lancaster University. ©Ruskin Foundation. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Commentary by Christopher Newall

This extraordinary and powerful drawing has a dynamic quality instilled by the sense of claustrophobic enclosure between a stone wall and a bank, and evokes the walker's longing for the crest of the path and the view of open countryside and sunlit air that will be achieved. Ruskin drew it while staying in Lucca in August or September 1874,' finding the precise spot at a hamlet called Pozzuolo, which lies a short distance to the southwest of the town. He was in a disturbed state of mind and had left England in March to attempt to distract himself from anxieties about the deteriorating health of Rose La Touche (she had been admitted to a nursing home and was to die on 26 May the following year).

E.T. Cook and Alexander Wedderbum gave the work the title "A Vineyard Walk: lower stone-work of tower, 12th cent", and it was exhibited as such at the Royal Watercolour Society in 1901, the year after Ruskin's death. . . . Jeanne Clegg and Paul Tucker identified the twelfth-century campanile in 1993. [104]

Scanned image and formatting by George P. Landow [ You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Newall, Christopher (with contributions by Christopher Baker, Conal Shields, and Ian Jeffrey. John Ruskin Artist and Observer. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada; London Paul Holberton Publishing, 2014. No. 58. [Review in the Victorian Web]

Ruskin, John. Works, "The Library Edition." eds. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. 39 vols. London: George Allen, 1903-1912.

Last modified 20 February 2014