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Ruskin’s ‘Authentic’ London: Architecture and National Identity in the Victorian City

David Barnes

Although John Ruskin was born in 1819 in Brunswick Square, London, the Victorian critic is more strongly associated with other spaces and localities: Venice, Rouen, Amiens, Pisa, and the Lake District. Philip Mallett has provided an admirable overview of Ruskin’s relationship to London in his essay ‘The City and the Self’ but as yet there have been no critical analyses of how ‘Ruskin’s London’ might be viewed with reference to the development of a broader national consciousness.[1] In this paper, I will suggest that Ruskin’s literary response to the city can be considered as part of a complex project to develop a kind of English nationalism. An examination of Ruskin’s references to London (with particular attention to his architectural writings) provides a fascinating insight into the development of Victorian cultural and national identities. This paper considers how debates over appropriate or ‘authentic’ architecture for the capital can be seen to feed into broader currents of European nationalist ideology. Towards the end of the paper, Ruskin is compared with A.W.N. Pugin and their distinctive approaches to London, English identity and the Gothic are contrasted. The paper begins, however, with an unexpected convergence; Ruskin’s sense of an architectural ‘Englishness’ is considered alongside the rhetoric of the current Prince of Wales.

Nationalism and Architecture Today: Prince Charles
The question of what is an appropriate or ‘authentic’ architecture for Britain’s capital is one that remains with us. The Prince of Wales, writing in his 1989 A Vision of Britain, ‘a personal view of architecture’ to complement the accompanying BBC series, complains of the ‘deformed monsters’ that have been spawned to ‘haunt our towns and cities, our villages and our countryside’ (7). The inauthentic or -– the word he most often uses -– ‘inhuman’ examples of modernist architecture are described as ‘Frankenstein monsters, devoid of character, alien and largely unloved, except by the professors who have been concocting these horrors in their laboratories’ (9). Inauthentic architecture here is created unnaturally, in the laboratory, and away from the organic processes of the British landscape. The use of the word alien may suggest its original sense as foreign (un-British) but also brings with it the connotations of sci-fi and the alien invader. The Prince’s model for architectural practice -– ‘learning from the past’ (10) -– is described, in echoes of Ruskin, as a renewed attention to the contours of the landscape and soil. ‘In applying the lessons our forebears learnt,’ the Prince writes, we recognise ‘that our own particular island heritage came about as a result of a response to climactic conditions, the availability of certain local materials’ (10). The Prince’s favourite word for appraising the value of a building is ‘character’; and here – shades of Ruskin again – this word seems to a repository for a kind of spiritual quality that resides in the past.

Old buildings have a mystical life, whilst the 1960s brutalist structures found in Bow, East London, are described as ‘dinosaurs’ that were born extinct, ‘never alive’ but hanging on ‘like grim death’ (41). Approving of the relationship between the shape of trees and Greek columns, the Prince writes: ‘such columns when arranged in a harmonious order by an architect have given a mysterious sense of well-being and a kind of contentment to successive generations of human beings who still have that primeval relationship with trees lodged in their subconscious’ (109). Hence, in this formulation, the ‘character’ of the building absorbs archaic influences and a mysterious spiritual energy.

It is perhaps in London that we can discern the clearest traces of Ruskin, where ‘the poor old Tower of London … lies … remorselessly buried by the crude mass of the Tower Hotel and overshadowed by the slovenly towers of commerce’ (49). And again Charles writes of the Docklands that they ‘show the triumph of commercial expediency over civic values’ (53). These attacks, coupled with the Prince’s celebration of ‘community’, suggest the potential for a sustained critique on the late capitalist apparatus. Ruskin’s radical archaism found in the past not simply a vehicle for nostalgia but a live potentiality, a method of critiquing the soulless commercialism of the mercantile, imperialist Victorian state.

With the Prince of Wales however, the target is arguably missed and the potential for a radical polemic lost in his idolisation of the past as a nostalgic trope and his attack on modernist architectural theory. It is ultimately these ‘apostles of modernism’ (9) and the ‘progressive’ cultural agenda that receive the most ire from the Prince. Here, I suggest, he misdirects his anger, aiming his fire at a largely phantasmic modernist cabal (it is to be remembered that Le Corbusier is as much the heir of the Gothic as he is the embodiment of a fanatical modernity). At any rate, what is evident is that political arguments over architecture and national identity continue to define contemporary cultural life. These debates continue to define the politics of ‘Englishness’ and, furthermore, have always found particular vigour and intensity when focussed on London.

Ruskin, London and Nationalism
Although John Ruskin was a native Londoner, a quick glance at some of his references to London would imply that held no great love for the city. There is, for example, the reference to ‘that great foul city of London there -– rattling, growling, smoking, stinking; -– a ghastly heap of fuming brickwork, pouring out poison at every pore’ (Cited in Mallett, 41). In 1860, from Switzerland he writes to Harriet Beecher Stowe that ‘it takes a great deal when I am at Geneva to make me wish myself anywhere else, and of all places else, in London’ (Letters I, 337, my emphasis). To the London-based artist H.S. Marks he wrote in 1881 urging him to get out of the competitive London art scene and escape to the landscapes of the continent: ‘Good heavens! if you … would only put on hob-nailed shoes and start on a walking tour of France and the Tyrol, and see what life means – and the earth, and the sea’ (Letters II, 365). Perhaps most strikingly, there is his letter to Octavia Hill in 1875 where he writes that ‘London is as utterly doomed as Gomorrah … I have to labour wholly to fence round fresh fields beyond the smoke of the torment’ (Cited in Mallett, 42). Here also, as Philip Mallett has noticed, Ruskin provides an ideological sketch of a proto-greenbelt, with city and pastoral distinctly demarcated.[2]

Mallett has also argued that London in some sense represented for Ruskin the embodiment, or epitome of Mammon, the most visible symbol of the ‘illth’ created by modernity and capitalism. ‘Illth’ was for Ruskin the dark shadow of industrial ‘wealth’; and this ‘illth’ had a physical, environmental presence for the critic in storm clouds, smog and fog. In Letter 24 of Fors Clavigera, the series of letters addressed to the workmen of Great Britain, he writes from Corpus Christi College, Oxford in 1872 that ‘I was in London, all day yesterday, where the weather was as dismal as is its wont; and, returning here by the evening train, saw, with astonishment, the stars extricate themselves from the fog and the moon glow. … When I got to Oxford the sky was entirely clear’ (Fors I, 417).

London here appears associated with confusion and muddled thinking. Ruskin’s escape to Oxford seems to present not only an improved environment but also an improved mind. Clarity is pitched against fog and depression, and the need is to ‘extricate oneself’ from the oppressive power of the city. But was London ‘utterly doomed’ for Ruskin? Ruskin appeared to have cared far too much about London for this pejorative view to be the only way to approach Ruskin’s references to London. He was concerned as much with reform as with apocalyptic despair, hatching plans for the street-cleaning of the St. Giles area and for a tea shop in Paddington Street for the benefit of the poor.[3] And even though Dickens is described in negative terms by Ruskin as ‘a pure modernist –- a leader of the steam-whistle party par excellence’ (Letters II, 7) there is much common ground in terms of the two writers’ social projects for, and ideas of, a ‘renewed’ London.

However, the focus of this paper is on Ruskin’s approach to architectural space in London in terms of the development of a Victorian English identity. This identity, I suggest, arose in the context of the crosscurrents of European nationalism in the mid-century. The question becomes then not whether London was important to Ruskin, but what kind of London was important to him. Ruskin’s nationalism has been persuasively identified by a number of critics. Judith Stoddart has argued that ‘Ruskin’s spectation [is] figured in distinctively nationalistic terms’ and that his writings urge a ‘utopian community’ based around national geography’ (Stoddart, 66). As such, the organic nature of his nationalism bears certain similarities with German völkisch movements and other similar political trends now marred by their association with the origins of European fascism. Indeed, it is perhaps unsurprising that among Ruskin’s architectural disciples in Italy, several became involved in the cultural projects of the Mussolinian Fascist regime. To Giacomo Boni, who had worked closely with Ruskin in Venice and Pisa, Ruskin was the ‘Maestro’ who had led him to a ‘spiritual’ reappraisal of Italian history (Tea, I, 40). Boni would later become an enthusiast for Fascism, in 1923 praising Il Duce as the Platonic, ‘ordered mind’ who could ‘harmonise the voices of the multitude’ (Tea, II, 528). Later that year, Boni attended a Fascist rally at the Arch of Julius Caesar in Rome, where two fasci littoriali (lictor’s rods) were placed at the base of the monument and Boni made a speech praising Caesar (and, implicitly, Mussolini) as the embodiment of law and discipline (Tea, II, 560).

Denis Cosgrove has described Ruskin’s nationalism in terms of what he calls an ‘imaginative mapping’, and suggests that Ruskin draws ‘upon a long European heritage of cosmographical and geographical images’ represented most clearly in the medieval mappa mundi (Cosgrove, 77). Whilst the medieval map imagines the realms outside of its chartable territory, Ruskin’s mapping, with its ‘strains of Romantic nationalism’, imagines links between history, nationality and theology evident in architecture. In his early work The Poetry of Architecture (1837) Ruskin argues that in French buildings, ‘while the eye is pitying the actual humility of the present building, the mind is admiring the imagined pride of the past’ (Poetry, 17).

By contrast, ‘proper’ English cottages have a ‘finished neatness’ and are ‘pretty and appropriate’, whilst French gîtes possess an ‘air of nonchalance … a look of neglected beauty, and obliterated ornament’ (13). These differences are products of national character: whilst England ‘is a country of perpetually increasing prosperity and active enterprise’, ‘in France there prevail two opposite feelings, both in the extreme; that of the old pedigreed population, which preserves unlimitedly; and that of the modern revolutionists, which destroys unmercifully’ (14-15). Thus, in opposition to the ‘neatness’ in architecture emanating from the prosperous, active and disciplined English soul, French buildings have ‘partly the appearance of having been preserved with infinite care from an indefinite age and partly exhibit the evidence of recent ill-treatment and disfiguration’ (15). Here, Ruskin’s architectural criticism parallels the project of nationalism. Both, to use Benedict Anderson’s famous formulation, ‘imagine’ links and communities within unrecoverable pasts.[4]

Hence this national ‘feeling’ is evident in buildings that are typical of national character: in France, a dilapidated beauty and sublimity, in England an ordered neatness. Furthermore, these national characteristics are marked and defined by recent history, and two revolutions; it is, surely, the England of the Industrial Revolution appealed to in its ‘increasing prosperity and active enterprise’, and a France still marked by 1789 that ‘destroys unmercifully’. This use of history is also characteristic of the nascent nationalisms of the nineteenth century, and is to be found in the historico-geographical concerns of figures such as Ranke, Michelet, Tocqueville and Burckhardt. The crises out of which the nineteenth century emerged forced a rethinking of history in which Burkhardt, Michelet, Toqueville and Ruskin address themselves to a re-moulding and reconsideration of European culture upon national lines. Ruskin’s concern in The Poetry of Architecture is to draw up the boundaries and borders of an aesthetic national consciousness.

The French historian Jules Michelet’s interest in history led him towards a similar ‘commerce with the dead’ that took on an increasingly nationalistic hue. For Michelet, as Ceri Crossley has argued, nationalism ‘came to replace religion as the centre of feelings of belonging and community’ (Crossley, 187). The ideology of French nationalism, Michelet found, embodied both the tropes of renewal and unity which had been the province of the Church. National history, in Crossley’s words, ‘came to possess its own spirituality and function as the source of moral life’ (196). Like Ruskin, Michelet reacted to specific historical events. After the trauma of the Franco-Prussian War, Michelet imagined the French loss of Alsace and Lorraine as the amputation of a limb. France was ‘a national body whose circulation throughout is so rapid and complete that no separation of its parts can take place’ (Michelet, 98).[5]

French national unity was also ‘organic’ and related to the natural world. Furthermore, using Pauline imagery, Michelet describes France as being reborn, having ‘put aside the old Adam’ (97). But the nation is reborn not through the future, but through its past, which performs the task of unifying the country: ‘The great memories of the past, the grand traditions held in common … have drawn more closely and strongly our ties’ (109). As might be expected, Michelet, like Ruskin, saw deep and fundamental differences between nations. Germans were too ‘mechanical’, Italy had no true unity. France, with its mysterious ‘fusion’ of Roman, Celtic and Germanic elements, was the pinnacle of perfect nationhood (68).

Ruskin, though no less a believer in the fundamental essences of nations, sees different qualities at work in the various European countries. When Ruskin begins to describe Italy, he talks of a country ‘glorious in its death’, opposed to ‘prosperous in its prime’ England, and France ‘frivolous in its age’ (Poetry, 18). ‘Glorious’, in the sense that Proust (a great admirer of Ruskin) would later try to capture, because ‘no real beauty can be obtained without a touch of sadness’. Italy is thus ‘one wide sepulchre’, and ‘her present life … like a shadow or a memory’ (19). Yet this dormant, shadowy, crumbling country is for Ruskin the cause of great ecstasies of imagination:

Every part of the landscape is in unison; the same glory of mourning is thrown over the whole; the deep blue of the heavens is mingled with that of the everlasting hills, melted away into the silence of the sapphire sea; the pale cities, temple and tower, lie gleaming along the champaign; but how calmly … they are voiceless as the city of ashes. (19-20)

Whilst Italy is in ‘mourning’ –- a ‘city of ashes’, ‘voiceless’ –- it is also glorious, ‘gleaming’, and clothed in ‘deep’ colours. It is a ‘mixture of grandeur and desolation’. But, in The Poetry of Architecture, it is a ‘grandeur’ that only seems possible through ruin. It is the beauty of Italy’s remains that captivates; ‘in Italy … everything ought to point to the past’ (28, 114).

Returning to London, The Poetry of Architecture postulates a potential architecture for the capital that in the ‘unity of feeling’ upholds harmony and authenticity. In language that could deliberately be compared with that of Prince Charles, Ruskin deplores that,

the science [of national architecture] … is at a miserably low ebb in England. And what is the consequence? We have Corinthian columns placed beside pilasters of no order at all, surmounted by monstrosified pepper-boxes, Gothic in form and Grecian in detail in a building nominally and peculiarly “National”; we have Swiss cottages falsely and calumniously so entitled, dropped in the brick-fields around the metropolis, and we have…square-windowed, flat-roofed gentleman’s seats of the lath and plaster, mock-magnificent, Regent’s Park description, rising in the woody promontories of Derwent water. (6)

What horrifies Ruskin here is the inability in London and England to grasp ‘the science’ of ‘right’ national architecture. What is produced when this science falls to a ‘miserably low ebb’ are monstrosities: the abomination of hybrid Greek-Gothic buildings, inauthentic Swiss cottages unnaturally ‘dropped’ into the suburbs, mock-classical mansions inappropriately sprouting out of the countryside. Ruskin sees this architecture as bastardised and ‘unnatural’; a kind of dilution and compromise of national purity. What is so horrible to Ruskin about these buildings is that they do not belong here, and are deemed inappropriate to the ‘unity’ of the British landscape. In other words Ruskin is positing here a kind of aesthetic nationalism that assumes a harmony and continuousness in English architecture. Ruskin’s ‘comradeship’ of architecture assumes deep, unified, national roots in opposition to foreign imports and bastardised mixtures. Notice Ruskin’s use of the phrase ‘peculiarly and nominally “National”’; the words imply that these Greco-Gothic styles are national only in name, and compromise rather than bolster national purity, or what Ruskin calls the ‘unity of feeling, the basis of all grace, the essence of all beauty’ (8).

Pugin and Ruskin: Competing Visions?
Aside from the future echoes to the Prince of Wales’s polemic, there is also an extraordinary similarity between Ruskin’s writing in The Poetry of Architecture and his contemporary A.W.N. Pugin. Pugin’s Contrasts had been published in the previous year, 1836, and is similarly concerned to develop a theory of national architecture. In Contrasts, Pugin had scorned the vogue for ‘Moorish fish markets, Egyptian marine villas, … colossal figures in Hindoo style, … gin temples’ (Contrasts, I). What both writers appear to seek here is the ‘authentic’ as opposed to the unnatural, the genuine or organic in opposition to the fake, and the national as opposed to the international.

Both sought a genuine (and, needless to say, Gothic) core to London which would renew the city and free it from the ‘pagan’ classical style that had dominated the eighteenth century. For Pugin, St. Paul’s was the classic example of ‘revived Pagan’ (Contrasts, iii). For Ruskin also, the church was of little value, a poor derivative of St. Peter’s in Rome, ‘a pasteboard model –- a child’s toy –- that the wind may blow away like a pack of cards’ (Early Prose Writings, 380). Both looked to the middle ages as the true touchstone for England’s and London’s identity, Pugin writing of the destruction of the later parts of the Palace of Westminster (which of course he was to be so instrumental in rebuilding) that there was ‘nothing much to regret & a great deal to rejoice in’, happy that a ‘vast quantity of Soanes mixtures & Wyatts heresies have been effectually consigned to oblivion’ (Pugin Letters I, 42).

Pugin’s language here seems, consciously or not, to reflect racial, cultural and religious concerns. ‘Mixtures’ suggests the language of racial anxiety, implying a fear of cross-breeding, miscegenation. But Pugin’s attack on what he calls ‘heresies’ highlights another point of convergence for Ruskin and Pugin. Both saw in the Gothic not only a pure national identity for Victorian England, but also a pure religious one. Both identified ‘civilisation’ with Christianity, and both saw the evil fruits of modernity as the unavoidable result of the erosion of Christian values in public life. Both men thought that architecture could be ‘read’, and could indicate spiritual health or decay. Ruskin wrote in the Stones of Venice that Gothic was ‘an index’ not only of climate but of ‘religious principle’ (Stones II,188).

Yet Ruskin scorned Pugin and denied (with some degree of over-emphasis) the influence of the architect on his theories. In 1855 he wrote to F.J. Furnivall that ‘I certainly owe nothing to Pugin … I owe, I know not how much, to Carlyle, and after him to Wordsworth, Hooker, Herbert, Dante, Tennyson and about another dozen people. But assuredly Nothing to Pugin’ (Letter in appendix to Modern Painters II, 429). However, Ruskin’s strongest attack is in the appendices to the first volume of the Stones of Venice (1851) where he writes the following:

It is of the highest importance, in these days, that Romanism should be deprived of the miserable influence which its pomp and picturesqueness have given it over the weak sentimentalism of the English people … the basest is the being lured into the Romanist Church by the glitter of it, like larks into a trap by broken glass; to be blown into a change of religion by the whine of an organ pipe; stitched into a new creed by gold threads on priests’ petticoats; jangled into change of conscience by the chimes of a belfry … I had hardly believed that it was a thing possible…until I came on this passage in Pugin … It is very necessary … that all … should know at once that he is not a great architect, but one of the smallest possible or conceivable architects. (Stones I, 372)

It is Pugin’s Roman Catholicism that Ruskin attacks here, and particularly Pugin’s defense of Catholicism as the right (or ‘authentic’) course for the English church to follow. This is Ruskin in early Evangelical Protestant certainty mode, and his association of Roman Catholicism, and of Pugin’s version of it, with glitter and frippery implies a counterbalance of Gothic sternness and solidity in Protestantism.

Yet both writers were trying to seek origins and essences for a renewed national identity in the years of Victorian prosperity. Both, as Rosemary Hill has shown, shared common influences in the watercolour paintings of Samuel Prout and the romantic novels of Walter Scott, novels which imagined a dark-age British Isles divided into distinct ethno-racial groups.[6] In 1840, Pugin had moved away from the idolization of continental Gothic towards a pure English line, writing ‘I will never perpetrate anything foreign in England again…the revival of our national antiquities must be our cry’ (Letters I, 133). This change of heart led him towards the ideal of the ‘complete English parish church of the time of Edward I’.[7] Pugin’s Catholicism led him to argue, in parallel with Tractarian theology, that the Church of England was historically Catholic and in his 1843 Apology for the Revival of Christian Architecture he elegises a romantic England where he sees the ‘grey tower of the parochial church rising by the side of the manorial house’ (Apology, 37). Here romantic nationalism is enlisted as a subtle argument for unity with the Roman tradition. In Ruskin we see the converse, visiting Venice and making the interior of St. Mark’s one vast ‘Book of Common Prayer’ (Stones II, 112), and medieval Venetians proto-Protestants. Christianity, although taken seriously by both men, becomes thus a tool with which to define and defend the national character.

Conclusion: ‘Authentic’ London?
Debates over the ‘authentic’ or proper architecture for London in this period became a struggle over the meaning and power of a national identity slowly being loosed from its Christian moorings. Entering a debate over the appropriateness of Gothic for new government offices in 1859, Ruskin writes: ‘It [Gothic] was said to be a remnant of the dark ages, but it never occurred to the speakers that the English Constitution was a remnant of the dark ages’ (Cited in Brookes, 154). In other words, Ruskin sees ‘authentic’ Gothic as being able to return England to, or refocus England on, its core identity, its kernel of historic political nationhood.

In 1884, an immensely elaborate stage reproduction of ‘Old London’ was erected in the capital. For three days, actors in Shakespearian clothes wandered around speaking in ‘Olde English’ and medieval landmarks such as the Tabard Inn were recreated from drawings and sketches. This spectacle may appear as a retrospective comment on the mid-Victorian medievalist discussions of Ruskin, Pugin and others; Gothic energy reemerging as a temporary simulacrum, a Victorian Disneyland. A comparison with Imre Kiralfy’s 1891 spectacular ‘Venice’ in Kensington Olympia (where he created canals and imported real gondolas, gondoliers and Italian policemen to control the day-tripping crowds) may be relevant here.[8]

Yet the ‘Old London’ show also highlights the deep desire of prosperous Victorian London to seek its own origins, to find its authentic identity. As Benedict Andersen and others have described, the nineteenth-century development of the modern state seems to have caused a general move towards national self-reflection. In Germany, Italy and Greece, such burgeoning nationalism was given a political (and sometimes revolutionary) urgency. In Britain, nationalism in its multiple and complex forms attempted to make sense of, or ‘authenticise’ the Victorian imperial state. Ruskin’s struggles with what an ‘authentic’ London should resemble may be seen as linked to this phenomenon. His writings on London provide a unique glimpse into the shaping of a modern national consciousness.


[1] In the collection Ruskin and Environment, edited by Michael Wheeler.

[2] To Mallett, Ruskin ‘advocated a green belt policy’. See Mallett, p.45.

[3] For a description of Ruskin’s involvement in these activities, see Mallett, p.41.

[4] See Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, especially, pp.6-7.

[5] The corporeal imagery of nationalism was later to be adopted by Fascist and Nazi ideologies. Mussolini, for example, would describe Italy as a ‘body’ being healed by Fascism, where ‘unhealthy behaviour’ would be ‘removed from circulation’ (cited in Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Fascist Modernities, 19).

[6] See Hill’s essay ‘Ruskin and Pugin’, in Ruskin and Architecture.

[7] Cited in Hill, God’s Architect, p.227.

Works Cited

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. London: Verso, 2006.

Ben-Ghiat, Ruth. Fascist Modernities. Berkeley: University of California Press 2001.

Brooks, Michael. John Ruskin and Victorian Architecture. London: Rutgers, 1987.

H.R.H. Prince Charles. A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture. London: Doubleday, 1989.

Cosgrove, Denis. ‘Mappa mundi, anima mundi: imaginative mapping and environmental representation’. In Ruskin and Environment, ed. Michael Wheeler. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1995, pp.76-101.

Crossley, Ceri. French Historians and Romanticism: Thierry, Guizot, the Saint-Simonians, Quinet, Michelet. London: Routledge, 1993.

Hill, Rosemany. God’s Architect. London: Allen Lane, 2007.

‘Ruskin and Pugin’. In Ruskin and Architecture, ed. Rebecca Daniels and Geoff Bradwood. Reading: Spire Books, 2003, pp.223-245.

Kincher, Judith, and Sturton, Paul, eds. Is Mr. Ruskin Living Too Long? Selected Writings of E.M Gordon on Victorian Architecture, Design and Culture. Oxford: White Cockade Publishing, 2005.

Mallett, Philip. ‘The City and the Self’. In Ruskin and Environment, ed. Michael Wheeler. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1995, pp. 38-51.

Michelet, Jules. France Before Europe. London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1871.

Plant, Margaret. Venice: Fragile City. New Haven: Yale UP, 2002.

Pugin, A.W.N. An Apology for the Revival of Christian Architecture in England. Oxford: St. Barnabas Press, 1969.

—–, Contrasts and the True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture.Reading: Spire Books, 2003.

—–, Collected Letters, ed. Margaret Belcher. Oxford: OUP, 2000.

Ruskin, John. Early Prose Writings; Fors Clavigera; Letters Vols. I and II; Modern Painters. In 5 volumes; The Poetry of Architecture; The Stones of Venice. In 3 volumes. All in Library Edition of The Works of John Ruskin, ed. E.T. Cook & Alexander Wedderburn. London: George Allen, 1904.

Stoddart, Judith. Ruskin’s Culture Wars: Fors Clavigera and the Crisis of Victorian Liberalism. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1998.

Tea, Eva. Giacomo Boni: Il Tempo della Sua Vita. In 2 volumes. Milan: Casa Editrice Ceschina, 1932.

To Cite This Article:

David Barnes, ‘Ruskin’s ‘Authentic’ London: Architecture and National Identity in the Victorian City’. Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London, Volume 7 Number 2 (September 2009). Online at Accessed on [date of access]