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Oil on canvas painting of a grand building which has ornate Christian religious scenes depicted on its walls.

J.W.Bunney, Façade Of San Marco, Venice 1877 82, Collection Of The Guild Of St George, Sheffield Museums

The Ruskin Collection: Comes the Flood

Tue 3 January - Sun 26 November 2023

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 commissioned many works of art recording the architecture of Venice. He saw what was to come – that the city would soon be unrecognisable due to the impact of environmental change and poor building conservation.

This collection redisplay imagined the future Ruskin predicted. The gallery labels and sound recordings were written by creative writers, poets, and actors. These writers and performers re-imagined objects from Sheffield’s two major floods (1864 and 2007) and depictions of Venice as remnants from cities that have been destroyed by the rising waters of climate change. Together, they asked us to consider how we will remember the past after the flood has come, what will be lost, and what would we save?

This display has now closed

Opening Times

Tue–Sat 10am–5pm

Sun 11am–4pm

The Millennium Gallery down escalator is currently out of use - step-free access to the lower floor is available via the lift or the side entrance on Cadman Lane

Millennium Gallery

Arundel Gate


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.

J.W.Bunney, Façade of San Marco, Venice 1877-82

© Collection of the Guild of St George, Sheffield Museums

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