John Ruskin fan credited with renewed interest in him has died


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The man who inspired renewed interest in writer, philosopher and art critic John Ruskin has died at the age of 90.

James S. Dearden, master of St George’s Guild from 2004-2009 and former student of Bembridge School, died on October 23.

The guild is the arts, crafts and rural economy charity, founded by Ruskin in 1871.

Mr Dearden had been curator of the Whitehouse collection at Bembridge School, organizer of the Brantwood conference, widely regarded as having initiated the Ruskin revival, and director of St George’s guild for 35 years.

He wrote numerous books and was an advisor to three generations of Ruskin scholars.

Clive Wilmer, who wrote his obituary for the guild, said: “It has helped him to be a modest and selfless man, friendly, friendly and an endearing storyteller. There can be no Ruskinians who are not, straight or indirectly, liable. ”

Born in the Lake District in 1931, Mr. Dearden attended Bembridge School from 1945 to 1949.

The school had been founded on Ruskinian principles experimentally by the liberal philanthropist and politician J. Howard Whitehouse, who then purchased Ruskin’s house on Coniston Water and assembled a comprehensive collection of Ruskin’s books, manuscripts, drawings and memorabilia. , which took place at the school.

In 1957, Mr. Dearden returned to school to teach printing, a key part of the school’s Ruskinian emphasis on crafts.

He built up a number of book collections, the largest of which was Ruskin’s.

Mr. Dearden also had a good knowledge of the Lake District and the IW.

He was a member of the Bembridge Sailing Club and captain, president and president of the Isle of Wight Foot Beagles.

His work for the Whitehouse Collection has taken him to the United States, Japan and Italy.

After his retirement he was appointed Honorary Doctor of Letters (D Litt) at Lancaster University and in 2018 he was appointed MBE for Cultural Services.

Earlier this year, in an online ceremony, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the newly-founded Ruskin Society of North America on its 90th anniversary.

He married in 1958 to Jill Cheverton, whom he had met while they were both working at school. She died in 2015.

Mr. Dearden leaves behind a daughter, Sarah Washington, and three granddaughters, Caroline, Harriet and Elizabeth.

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