‘Practical power and faith’:<sup>1</sup> Ruskin and the Companions of the Guild of St George

Stuart Eagles

in After Ruskin

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199602414
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725050 | DOI:
‘Practical power and faith’:1 Ruskin and the Companions of the Guild of St George

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Ruskin's utopianist Guild of St. George was the embodiment of his social challenge. An extension of his personality, it grew partly out of his early involvement with the Working Men's College in London. In microcosm, the Guild served directly both to help educate the workman through a free and carefully organised Museum in Sheffield, and to return a few of Ruskin's most loyal Companions, to a simple rural life. Others, working in the spirit of the Guild, but not directly for it, revived traditional handicrafts in the Lake District and on the Isle of Man. Before Ruskin's death, the dedication of his Companions was responsible for securing the Guild's modest successes, and although their efforts became less focused after 1900, they continued to support the sorts of progressive social institutions in which many of Ruskin's disciples congregated outside the Guild.

Keywords: Ruskin; Guild of St. George; Sheffield; companions; Isle of Man; museum; rural life; Lake District; handicrafts; working-class history

Chapter.  18080 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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