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John Ruskin – There is no wealth but life

Collection Issue Date: 27th April 2021

Celebrating one of Victorian Britain’s most influential figures.

Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to issue this set of six stamps in celebration of the life and legacy of one of Victorian Britain’s most influential figures, John Ruskin. The Guild of St. George; set-up by Ruskin 150 years ago, played a pivotal role in the history of the Laxey Woollen Mills, a Manx institution that continues to practice traditional crafting methods to this day.

Issue Information

John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, water-colourist, philosopher, prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He founded The Guild of St. George charitable and Educational Trust in 1871.

Lead by Ruskin and Rydings, the Guild founded the Laxey Woollen Mills in 1881 in order to promote and preserve the art of weaving traditional Manx tweed and worsted. The mill still remains operational to this day, and celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, whilst the Guild celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2021. This six stamp issue commemorates both landmark anniversaries. 

Whilst on the Isle of Man, Ruskin converted a corn mill to a water-powered woollen mill, incorporating a dyeing, spinning and carding manufactory. The mills became well-known for their high quality homespun cloth, helping to preserve Manx heritage and tradition for years to come, as was originally intended by Ruskin and the Guild. To this day, the mill continues to operate in much the same way as was intended by Ruskin 140 years ago with an ever increasing emphasis on sustainability and use of loaghtan wool for its core products.

The Story of the Stamps

This stamp issue has been created alongside the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford - the first public university Museum in Britain. John Ruskin has a unique association with Oxford University.

Featuring topics and artworks selected in consultation with the Ashmoleon Museum, our set of six stamps spotlight the great and varied life of Ruskin, his influence on Victorian society and lasting impact on Manx culture and traditions through the Laxey Woollen Mills.

1st: Laxey Woollen Mill & The Guild of St George – Displaying the Laxey Woollen Mills, owned by Manx resident and great friend of Ruskin, Egbert Rydings who is imposed upon the stamp. Ruskin and his Guild of St George provided funding to the Mills, encouraging the preservation of traditional Manx craftsmanship, an art form continued to this day.

EU: Social Justice – As a great thinker, his views on social justice in the Victorian era helped to shape welfare reforms in Britain such as the introduction of a minimum wage, free school meals and universal healthcare. 

Large: Artist – Featuring artwork produced by Ruskin himself, whose artwork centred on his main interests in life, nature and God. As a critic, Ruskin championed the idea of "truth to nature" which encouraged painters to closely observe the world surrounding them.

RoW: Venice by J M Nicholson - The artwork featured on this stamp is Manx artist John Miller Nicholson’s, The Journey to Venice – An Artistic Transformation. In 1880, John Ruskin had advised Miller Nicholson to journey to Venice in order to broaden his horizons, a trip made in 1882.

£1.82: Art Critic – Symbolising his relationship and influence upon art, he was a champion of J.M.W Turner, the great Romantic painter. Their friendship is presented upon this stamp which features Calais Pier by Turner.

£2.17: Legacy – Representing his legacy, this stamp displays Ruskin Land, an area of land in the Wyre Forest, Worcestershire cared for by the Guild of St George. This stamp encompasses the relevance of his thoughts in the modern world and the prolonged legacy of his work, hundreds of years later.

Acknowledgements

The Isle of Man Post Office wishes to thank the staff of the Ashmolean Museum for their assistance in the research and production of this issue. We are also grateful to the Guild of St. George for their contribution to this issue.

Technical Information

Text: The Guild of St. George and The Ashmolean Museum
Design: EJC Design
Printer: Cartor
Process: Offset Lithography
Colours: 4
Paper: 110gms PVA gummed
Perforations: 13 per 2cm
Stamp Size: 40mm x 40mm
Format: Sheets of 16
Date of Issue: 27th April 2021

Collection Products

John Ruskin Set and Sheet Set
John Ruskin Set and Sheet Set

Product Code: ZE31
Product Issue Date: 27th April 2021

This fascinating six stamp collection spotlights the great and varied life of Ruskin, his influence on Victorian society and lasting impact on Manx culture and traditions through the Laxey Woollen Mills.


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John Ruskin First Day Cover
John Ruskin First Day Cover

Product Code: ZE91
Product Issue Date: 27th April 2021

A complete set of stamps celebrating the life and legacy of one of Victorian Britain’s most influential figures, John Ruskin can be found on the front cover of this deluxe envelope. The stamps are cancelled with a special first day of issue postmark.


Price: £9.00

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John Ruskin Presentation Pack
John Ruskin Presentation Pack

Product Code: ZE41
Product Issue Date: 27th April 2021

A street poster from Walkley, Sheffield featuring the famous quote of John Ruskin 'There is no wealth but life' features on the cover of this four page glossy folder.


Price: £9.05

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