John Ruskin's bicentenary: Marlborough conference seeks people to host speakers & visitors
This autumn, Marlborough College with the organisation Visual Theology are bringing academics, artists, and church leaders together to explore the legacy of John Ruskin and his ideas about theology and the arts - in this his bicentenary year.
The conference - on 21 & 22 September 2019 - is titled: Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites: Sacre Conversazioni. Visual Theology runs a series of conferences, exhibitions, and related events that explore the relationship between the spiritual imagination and visual culture.
Speakers and guests for the conference, which will be based in the College Chapel, will be coming from far and wide and the organisers are asking for people in and very close to the town to offer to put some of them up in their homes for two nights.
The keynote speakers will be Professor Colin Cruise from Aberystwyth University, the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam Bishop of Salisbury, and from the United States, the Ruskin specialist Professor George P. Landow.
There will be other international speakers including the well-respected Professors Elizabeth Helsinger and Lucy Hartley, and the curator Christopher Newall, who wrote the 2014 book John Ruskin: Artist and Observer. Those attending the conference will also see a reimagining of the College Chapel's consecration with artist Mark Dean.
The venue for the main conference programme, Marlborough College's St Michael and All Angels Chapel, is recognised as a masterpiece of Victorian vision and design. Its interior is considered to be among the finest decorative schemes in nineteenth century church architecture.
The interior includes a series of twelve large biblical murals by the late Pre-Raphaelite artist John Roddam Spencer Stanhope - see the photo above. These depict scenes involving angels - six on the north side from the Old Testament and six on the south from the New Testament.
Two other artistic features are the Scholars’ Window on the south side, which was designed by later Pre-Raphaelite artist and designer Edward Burne-Jones and made by Old Marlburian William Morris. And an external sculpture The Virgin and Child by Eric Gill above the west door.
The present College Chapel was designed in the Late Decorated Gothic style by George Frederick Bodley and Thomas Garner. It was consecrated in 1886. You can see a 360 degree photographic panorama of the interior College Chapel here.
One of the organisers, Madeleine Thiele, told marlborough.news: "We hope you will come and celebrate John Ruskin's contribution to British intellectual and spiritual enquiry. Book your tickets now!" You can book here. The full programme for the conference is here.