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Ruskin School of Art
Ruskin School of Art
Former name
The Ruskin School of Drawing
LocationOxford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
51°45′09″N 1°15′02″W / 51.75250°N 1.25056°W / 51.75250; -1.25056
Operating agency
University of Oxford
Ruskin School of Art is located in Oxford city centre
Ruskin School of Art
Location in Oxford city centre

The Ruskin School of Art is the Department of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, England.[1] It is part of Oxford's Humanities Division.


The Ruskin School of Art grew out the Oxford School of Art, which was founded in 1865 and later became Oxford Brookes University.[2] It was headed by Alexander Macdonald and housed in the University Galleries (subsequently the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology).[3]

In 1869 John Ruskin was appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford. Critical of the teaching methods at the Oxford School of Art, he set out to found the Ruskin School of Drawing in 1871 in the same, but restructured, premises. Macdonald was retained as its Head and became, therefore, the first Ruskin Master until his death in 1921.[3][4][5]

The Slade School of Fine Art relocated to the Ruskin for the duration of the Second World War.[citation needed]

It was renamed Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in 1945, and later Ruskin School of Art in 2014.[citation needed] Ruskin School of Art remained at the Ashmolean until 1975 when it moved to 74 High Street. In October 2015, the Ruskin opened a second Fine Art building in East Oxford, at 128 Bullingdon Road, on the site of a former warehouse and annexe. Designed by Spratley Studios Architects, the building houses purpose-built art-facilities and studios, and won a RIBA award in 2015. The Ruskin now operates across both sites.[6]


The School was originally founded to encourage artisanship and technical skills. It now provides undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in the production and study of visual art. The subject is taught as a living element of contemporary culture with a broad range of historical and theoretical references.[5] The Ruskin remains at the top of the league tables among art schools in the UK, and was top of its category in the 2021 REF (Research Excellence Framework) exercise.

Ruskin Masters

The School was traditionally headed by an appointed Ruskin Master. Richard Wentworth was the last to hold this position (2002-2010). [5] The School now benefits from rotating the post of Head of School amongst current faculty members. At present, the role is with Professor Ian Kiaer, while previous Heads of School have included Professors Michael Archer, Jason Gaiger, Hanneke Grootenboer, Brian Catling, Anthony Gardner and Kristen Kreider.

Ruskin Masters:


For a more comprehensive list, see Category:Alumni of the Ruskin School of Art.


  1. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. p. 369. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  2. ^ "Oxford Brookes University / History". Oxford Brookes University.
  3. ^ a b Bodleian Library, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art.
  4. ^ Royal Academy, RA Collection: People and Organisations, Alexander MacDonald.
  5. ^ a b c "Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art". University of Oxford. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  6. ^ Bullingdon road [dead link]

Further reading