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John Ruskin and the Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum, located in Oxford, England, is one of the is one of the oldest museums in the world, and first opened in 1683. It has a huge collection of fine art, and probably one of the most diverse and unusual collection of objects in the world. Here is just a taster of the collection on display:

  • Drawings by Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci 
  • Paintings by Picasso, van Dyck, Rubens, Cézanne, Constable, J. M. W. Turner
  • The Messiah Stradivarius, a violin made by Antonio Stradivari
  • Arab ceremonial dress owned by Lawrence of Arabia 
  • A death mask of Oliver Cromwell
  • An extensive collection of antiquities from Egypt
  • The ceremonial cloak of Chief Powhatan (father of Pocahontas)

One of the most prominent figures associated with the museum is John Ruskin, a Victorian artist, philosopher, and prolific writer who helped grow the museum's collections,  and was a passionate advocate of design, and the arts. It is with great pride that Conway Stewart has produced a pen inspired by Ruskin and the Ashmolean Museum, which reflects the values and ethos of both.

John Ruskin was born in London in 1819 and was a man of many talents. He wrote essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, architectural structures, and ornamentation. Much of these are now owned by and on display at the Ashmolean Museum. His book on architecture “The Seven Lamps of Architecture” with opening paragraph (shown below) still inspires architects today over 170+ years since it was first written.

"Architecture is the art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man for whatsoever uses, that the sight of them contribute to his mental health, power, and pleasure"

He was appointed the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University in August 1869 and famously, at one of his lectures stated:

“The art of any country is the exponent of its social and political virtues."

In effect, art reflects a country’s values. Ruskin’s lectures were often so popular that they had to be given twice—once for the students, and again for the public.

He promoted environmental conservation, was a campaigner against all forms of cruelty to animals, wrote about sustainable living and agriculture and encouraged creativity and design in crafts and manufacture. Ruskin’s The Poetry of Architecture, for example, was a study of cottages, villas, and other dwellings which centred on the argument that buildings should be sympathetic to their immediate environment and use local materials. It was after seeing the changes that took place in Venice that he started to promote and write on preservation and conservation. His ideas provided inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Movement, the founders of the National Trust, the National Art Collections Fund, and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

The Ashmolean Pen, produced by Conway Stewart, reflects the values and ethos of both John Ruskin and the Ashmolean Museum. It is nostalgic with its traditional design and use of high-quality materials, while at the same time incorporating the latest in thinking in fountain pen technology. With its 18ct gold nib, it is a delight to use. As you think of the words, the pen glides across the page capturing your thoughts for future generations to read, and one could see John Ruskin scribing his poetry, lectures, books and masterpieces with such a writing instrument if he was alive today!

So, whether you are a collector of fountain pens or simply someone who values the art and craft of writing, the Ashmolean Pen is the perfect pen for you. With its timeless design, high-quality materials, and attention to detail, it is a pen that you will be proud to own and use for years to come. So why not order your Ashmolean Pen today and experience the beauty, elegance, and quality of a true Conway Stewart masterpiece?

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