Art critic's handwritten letter triples expectations



2015-06-26 11:54:09

Art critic's handwritten letter triples expectations

The influential Victorian writer John Ruskin charmed New Yorkers at a recent sale

John Ruskin's writings on the arts had a huge influence during the 19th century, and he was also a noted poet and artist himself.

Ruskin is remembered amongst other things for his support for JMW Turner and the pre-Raphaelite movement, as well as his writings on society and morality.

An autographed manuscript by Ruskin referring to Arthur Burgess was on offer at Bloomsbury's recent sale in New York. It was the basis of an article originally published in The Century Guild Hobby Horse, 1887.

The 5 page text details how Ruskin's close associate originally contacted him: he received a letter and woodcut from the printmaker Burgess.

Handwritten article by John Ruskin Handwritten article by John Ruskin

That letter explained who he was "I can cut wood like this and am overworked and cannot make my living - can you help me?" and Ruskin's article goes on to describe their later working relationship and descriptions of their projects.

Ruskin's article was given a modest estimate of $700-1,000. But as a significant figure in cultural history, and famous in particular for his writing, bidders believed that the substantial manuscript was worth more than that and the price was buffeted up to $3,200.

Collectors interested in writers of the 19th century may be interested to know that the signatures of William Wordsworth and Oscar Wilde are currently available for sale.

Image: Bloomsbury Auctions

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