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Whitelands Ruskin Lecture 2017

Friday, 12 May 2017 at Whitelands College, University of Roehampton
Whitelands Ruskin Lecture

Revd Canon Dr David Peacock OBE
My three-corneredest of Chaplains':
John Ruskin and the Revd John Pincher Faunthorp

Portrait of the Revd John Pincher Faunthorpe by Arthur George Walker (1861-1939).
Property of Whitelands College, University of Roehampton.

The Revd John Pincher Faunthorpe (1839-1924) was Principal of Whitelands College for a period of 33 years – 1874 to 1907. He struck up a relationship with John Ruskin, which resulted in the founding of the Whitelands May Day ceremonies. For a time, the two men were in regular correspondence. Ruskin commissioned Faunthorpe to assist him in a range of tasks, such as the reading and correcting of proofs, and the creation of an index to Fors Clavigera, Ruskin’s Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain.

David Peacock’s Whitelands Ruskin Lecture will give an overview of Faunthorpe’s origins, leading to his eventual appointment as Principal of Whitelands College. It will then go on to chart the development of the relationship between Ruskin and Faunthorpe over the period 1877 to 1887, which encompassed a significantly broader range of issues and interests than the establishment of the annual May Queen election alone.

The May Ceremony will follow on Saturday, 13 May. Dr Rachel Dickinson will present the May Monarch and his or her attendants with a selection of Ruskin's books.

Images: (left) the St Ursula window at Whitelands College, by Sir Edward Burne-Jones; (top right) Ruskin May Queen cross for May Queen Elizabeth Hughes, 1892. Designed by Arthur Severn. Whitelands College Archives; and (right) Revd Canon Dr David Peacock OBE.


Past Whitelands Ruskin Lectures


Friday, 13th May 2016, 6.30pm
Third Whitelands Ruskin Lecture

'What do you mean by dressing?' Ruskin and Dress

A lecture by Dr Rachel Dickinson

Whitelands College, University of Roehampton

Holybourne Avenue, London, SW15 4ID.

Purchase the lecture for £6 + £1.50 P&P: email for details.

The Victorian polymath John Ruskin wanted to improve the world. One of the ways he shared his vision for a better society was through the ideas of cloth and clothing. This lecture starts with his question ‘What do you mean by dressing?’ It uses examples from across Ruskin’s writing, including his early plans for The Guild of St George (the charity Ruskin founded), to outline five lessons: Question and redefine common cultural assumptions; Recognise that economics and aesthetics are intertwined; Use art to teach: here, a model for a well-dressed society; We should all learn Ruskinian ‘dress-making’; and, We must actively make the world more beautiful. It concludes with the contemporary example of Whitelands College and the continuing tradition that each May Monarch chooses a charity to support. The outgoing May Monarch’s chosen charity, War Child, embodies Ruskin’s vision of actively helping to improve the world by teaching, feeding, sheltering those in need – and making what Ruskin would call a ‘well-dressed’ society.

Dr Rachel Dickinson is a Principal Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is based at the Cheshire Faculty in Crewe, where she teaches English literature in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. Her current research is on Ruskin and textiles, as well as using Ruskin as a source of inspiration in thinking about twenty-first century problems. She is a Director of The Guild of St George.

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