A Special Visit from Poet and Ruskin Scholar Clive Wilmer

I have exciting news! If you’ve read much of my blog then you know that one of my great heroes is John Ruskin, art and architecture critic, social reformer, and the founder and first Master of the Guild of St. George. So you can imagine how eagerly I’m looking forward to a visit next week from the current Master of the Guild and my good friend, Clive Wilmer. Now retired from teaching at Cambridge University, Clive is not only the editor of Penguin’s anthology on John Ruskin (as well as one on William Morris) but is an esteemed British poet. He will be reading from his collection Urban Pastorals, a sequence of prose poems about the England of his childhood, reflecting on ideas of paradise and the ideal society. He will also discuss the Guild and its current work. This very special event will take place here at The Holton Studio Gallery next Friday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m.


I’m very happy to report that Master Wilmer is in town to speak and participate in an all-day symposium taking place the following day, Saturday, Sept. 23, in San Francisco. “How We Live and How We Might Live: Ruskin and Morris in Our Time” will take place at the wonderful Swedenborgian Church on Lyon Street at Washington. I helped put together two previous similar events at the Hillside Club here in Berkeley in 2013 and 2014, and really look forward to this one as well. Like the previous symposia, this one has been organized by another dear friend, Sara Atwood, who will say a few words about it at the Friday evening event at the Gallery. Among the other participants at this year’s symposium on Saturday will be Nick Friend who gave a wonderful lecture on the history of picture frames here at the Gallery a few months ago.

Speakers and topics lined up for “How We Live and How We Might Live: Ruskin and Morris in Our Time” are:

  • Nick Friend: “‘Fuel to feed the factory smoke’: Ruskin, Morris and Grenfell Tower”
  • Clive Wilmer: “The Island which is Nowhere: Utopia and Dystopia in More, Morris, Orwell and Ruskin”
  • Sara Atwood: “‘Blunder in thought, prolonged indefinitely’: Ruskin, Morris, and the Decay of Language”
  • Amy Woodson-Boulton: “Ruskin’s Truths in the Age of ‘Fake News’”
  • Jim Spates: “For the Love of Beauty: Ruskin, Switzerland, the Alps, and Italy”

The event starts at 9:30 and runs all day. Looks very promising! Get more information here…

I hope to see you at both events!

The Swedenborgian Church, San Francisco

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