Despite professing a dislike of having his portrait taken, John Ruskin's footsteps were dogged by portrait painters, sculptors, caricaturists and photographers from the cradle to the grave and beyond. A thoroughly accessible book it lists and describes some 331likenesses made between 1822 and 1998. The three introductory chapters to this book survey Ruskin portraiture and the portraits, his general physical appearance througout his life, his hands, his mouth, his various illnesses and their effect on his appearance, his clothes, style of dress, size, tailors, their bills, etc. These opening chapters include many descriptions and reminiscences by Ruskin's friends and acquaintances, and those who portrayed him. The principal part of the book deals with the individual portraits, their history, where and why they were made, what Ruskin was doing at that time of his life and what his connection was with the artists in question. He was portrayed so regularly that this section is also effectively a potted Ruskin biography, based on the portraits. A 'catalogue raisonne' of the Ruskin portraits follows where the physical details of the works are listed, together with details of reproductions, exhibitions and provenance.
James S. Dearden is Director for Ruskin Affairs in the Guild of St George.