Partly Art Nouveau binding of W. G. Collingwood's book, Ruskin Relics, 1903.

I came across a reference to this 1903 book last week, and was fortunate enough to find a copy (on Abebooks), which arrived a few days ago. It was presented by "Miss Hutchinson" to Alexandra Hall in 1905. Alexandra Hall (of which the bookplate is in English and Welsh) was the first hall of residence for female students at the University College of Aberystwyth, and was founded in 1896; by 1911, it housed 168 students.

The inscription.

Many pages of the book, and all the plates, are stamped as a sign of possession: what worries me slightly is that there is no de-accession mark. Leaving the issue of possible malfeasance on one side, the book is well produced (by Isbister and Co., 15 & 16 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden), with attractive gold blocking on the front, and Isbister’s colophon blind-blocked on the back board. — Caroline Murray

Ruskin Relics may well have been the author, W. G. Collingwood, himself. Collingwood designed a number of war memorials which use Celtic interlaces and bear a familial relationship to the cover shown here. He also designed Ruskin's Celtic cross in Coniston. It is quite complex stylistically: the compartments at the four corners and in the centre are Art Nouveau in style, but the arabesque is more Arts and Crafts. Like many books of the period, it straddles the two styles and mediates between them. The Arts and Crafts reference would of course make sense in relation to Ruskin. — Simon Cooke

Photographs by Murray. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.

Related Material


Collingwood, W. G. Ruskin Relics. London: Isbister and Co., 1903.

Created 2 July 2020