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A modern gallery space with a curved ceiling> on the right hand wall are two embroidered patchwork quilts. On the left hand way are a series of works on paper and plaster reliefs. In the foreground are a series of display cases and a modern light wood bench. A modern gallery space with a curved ceiling> on the right hand wall are two embroidered patchwork quilts. On the left hand way are a series of works on paper and plaster reliefs. In the foreground are a series of display cases and a modern light wood bench.

© Sheffield Museums

© Sheffield Museums

The Ruskin Collection: Hand, Head and Heart

Sat 9 December 2023 - Sun 1 December 2024

Millennium Gallery

The Guild of St George’s Ruskin Collection celebrates the visionary ideas of the Victorian artist and writer, John Ruskin (1819-1900). The gallery looks at how Ruskin established his collection in Sheffield to help people find inspiration in art and nature, and explores the relevance of his ideas today. 

 

John Ruskin believed in the positive power of making by hand. For Ruskin, producing handcrafted objects provided honest work that was close to nature, good for moral character and improved the lives of craftspeople.

This new redisplay looks at how the act of handmaking improves people’s lives today. Alongside highlights from the Guild of St George’s Ruskin Collection, visitors will see a range of artworks made in education settings, produced as part of therapy pathways or created to raise awareness.

A new memorial quilt commemorating Terry Higgins, the first named person in the UK to die of an AIDS-related illness, will also go on public display for the first time in the gallery’s thoroughfare.

Collection highlights include over 60 examples of beautifully crafted drawings, watercolours, manuscripts, plaster reliefs, textiles, decorative metalwork and more.

Free Entry | Please Donate

Opening Times

Tue–Sat 10am–5pm

Sun 11am–4pm

The Millennium Gallery escalator and lift are both currently out of use - step-free access between floors is available via the side entrance on Cadman Lane

Millennium Gallery

Arundel Gate

Sheffield

S1 2PP

About the Ruskin Collection

John Ruskin was a Victorian writer who searched passionately for beauty in the world around him. He explored nature from the smallest pebble to the mightiest landscape and examined art from the daintiest brush stroke to soaring architectural structures.

During his lifetime, England’s manufacturing cities expanded and became wealthy, whilst their workforces lived in poverty and grime. Workers had little to inspire them. Ruskin wanted to counter this imbalance and in 1871 set up the Guild of St George, a philanthropic society. Through the Guild, Ruskin founded a museum specifically for Sheffield’s workers. He filled it with a collection of artworks, illustrated books and minerals, all chosen to reflect his exploration of beauty.

Originally sited at Walkley, just outside the city centre, the museum offered visitors the opportunity to escape the smoke that surrounded them and immerse themselves in nature and art. Today, though the Ruskin Collection is exhibited in the city centre, it is still displayed and used as the creative and inspirational tool that Ruskin intended.

With more than 325 Companions worldwide, the Guild Of St George is now a charity that continues to promote Ruskin’s values in the modern world. As well as its Ruskin Collection, the Guild owns land in the Wyre Forest and elsewhere, and supports public engagement projects, together with conferences, publications, lectures and symposiums, all designed to encourage the use of Ruskin’s ideas to make the world a better place to live in.

A colourful embroidered quilt featuring text and images. At the centre are two portraits of Terry Higgins which are framed by a heart motif. The quilt is hung on a concrete and glass wall in a contemporary building.

The Terry Higgins Memorial Quilt

Photo © Sheffield Museums

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See more next door at the Graves Gallery

Find more exhibitions and display just over the road at the Graves Gallery, home to the city's visual art collection. Open Tue - Sat, free entry.

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