John Ruskin (February 8, 1819 - January 20, 1900). Author, poet and artist, although more famous for his work as art critic and social critic. His Modern Painters series were responsible for the early popularity of the artist Joseph Mallord William Turner and the pre-Raphaelite movement.
Ruskin was born in London, and spent much of childhood in Croydon. He was educated at the University of Oxford (Christ Church), where he was awarded a prize for poetry, his earliest interest. It was there that he met Turner. He also worked with the artists Rossetti, Millais, Holman Hunt, John Brett and John William Inchbold. Millais would in due course marry Effie Gray, who had been Ruskin's wife from 1848 until their marriage was annulled.
His later works influenced many Trade Union leaders of the Victorian era. He was also the inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Movement, the founding of the National Trust, and of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
Ruskin taught first at the Working Men's College in London, and then at Oxford University as Slade Professor of Art. Ruskin College at Oxford is named after him.
Upon the death of his father (who was a wealthy wine merchant), Ruskin declared that it was not possible to be a rich socialist and gave away most of his inheritance to educational organizations including the George's Guild in Paddington, the Whitelands College in Chelsea and the John Ruskin School in Camberwell.