Over  50 artworks from the Ruskin Library at Lancaster University can now be viewed online by people around the world due to a new partnership between the Google Cultural Institute and the Ruskin Library.

Thanks to this new virtual exhibition, at the click of a button users will be able to see a selection of the Library’s stunning collection of watercolours, drawings and daguerreotypes (early photographs) by the Victorian writer and painter John Ruskin.

Ruskin’s ‘Church of St Wulfran’ is one of 30 pieces of artwork that can now be viewed in never before seen definition thanks to Gigapixel technology, a powerful photo capturing process which has enabled the highest ever resolution image of the piece.

Viewers can explore it in extraordinary detail and experience it far beyond what is visible to the naked eye – zoom in close enough and viewers can see how Ruskin used tiny pencil marks and shading to detail the roof tiles on the small houses by the river.

Using the Street View feature, people can move around the Ruskin Library virtually, selecting works that interest them and clicking to discover more or diving into the high resolution images, where available.

A specially designed Street View ‘trolley’ took 360 degree images of the galleries which were then stitched together, enabling smooth navigation of public areas within the Library.

A specially curated virtual exhibit ‘Ruskin’s Venice’ has been developed by experts at the Ruskin Library, which gives the online visitor access to the art and architecture of nineteenth century Venice, meticulously recorded by Ruskin before much of it was destroyed in the name of restoration.

Some of the stand out items of the online exhibition are the North West Porch of St Mark’s, Venice, 1877, Ca’ d’Oro, Venice, 1845 and Charles Herbert Moore’s San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, from the Lagoon, 1876.

Professor Stephen Wildman, Director of the Ruskin Library, said: “This new partnership has given us an extraordinary platform from which to share our unique collection with millions of people.

“It makes our collection accessible and enjoyable not only to people who physically visit the Library, but to anyone with a computer or smart phone around the world. It also means that people can access the treasures of our collection all year round, even when they are not on display physically in the Library.

“We hope it will be an invaluable resource, giving people new ways to learn and teach about the life, work and legacy of John Ruskin.”


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