A visit to the main public art gallery in Sheffield, England. and the first thing you see is the Rakaia Gorge.
Edwyn Temple The Gorge of the River Rakaia from Mt Hutt, New Zealand. Collection of the Guild of St George, Museums Sheffield. Reproduced with permission
The exhibition in which this work is hung, Force of Nature, Picturing Ruskin's Landscape, draws on Ruskin's own collection, known as the collection of the Guild of St George, now administered by Museums Sheffield.
As it happens, Ruskin wrote extensive notes on this particular work, stating that 'It must be distinctly understood that this drawing is placed in the Museum, only as an example of painting in the service of Natural History ... and not at all as an example of painting as an art.'
In other words it was decently drawn, topographically exact, but entirely lacking in expressive or dramatic power.
We have our own Rakaia view, again done by Temple which, although far less finished than the one Ruskin bought (for 25 guineas), in fact has more life and more humanity about it. Now if we could just ask Ruskin what he thinks of OUR version...
Edwyn Temple Rakaia Gorge. Collection Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, purchased with assistance from the Olive Stirrat bequest 2004