John Ruskin to Rev George Butler

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. He is 'sorry to hear the University contemplates making itself ridiculous, because it really is making more steps in advance than any other old institution' [See note]

Administrative / Biographical History

[no address] No date

'I am very sorry to hear the University contemplates making itself ridiculous ...'

The five years (1852-1857) that the Butlers were resident in Oxford saw the culminating period of the creation at Oxford of facilities for the study of natural sciences. Josephine in her life of her husband (published shortly after his death in 1890) writes: 'A warm discussion had been maintained previously concerning the place which Natural Science should take in education, and its relation to, and possible dangers for, the established theological beliefs. There were, therefore, fears and prejudices to be overcome, as well as formidable material difficulties. The University, at that time, had not a single laboratory for students in any subject' (p.110)

The Rev George Butler 'was asked to take the work of honorary secretary to the projected new museum' (p.112)

Date of this letter probably about 1852 when the Butlers were resident at Oxford and the question of enacting the Museum was in everyone's mind

Biog: John Ruskin (1819-1900); Woodward