Sunset Over Herne Hill

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The Herne Hill Society paperback
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160 pages, Colour illustrated.

John Ruskin is one of the most closely analysed English writers of the 19th century. Yet this is the first book to look in detail at the importance of South London in shaping his thinking. For all his foreign travels, public lecturing, academic posts at Oxford and work for London’s museums, Herne Hill was the place where Ruskin lived well into old age.

There Ruskin witnessed, with increasing horror, the destruction of the natural environment through railway building and uncontrolled suburban growth. The Crystal Palace, glittering on his skyline, came to exemplify philistine capitalism, while his despair at the builders who traduced his vision for a “moral” Gothic architecture into a form of stick-on ornament is precisely located in South London.