Sheffield library stars in special stamp collection celebrating the life of famous writer

A set of John Ruskin themed stamps featuring the Walkley Carnegie Library highlights the Victorian writer’s Sheffield connection.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 3:20 pm
Frances outside the library at Walkley with the Ruskin inspired Isle of Man stamp

The Isle of Man Post Office collection celebrates the life of John Ruskin, a 19th century writer, art critic, social reformer and early environmentalist who visited Sheffield on several occasions during his life.

One of the stamps in collection, which was released earlier this year, shows part of Walkley Library, and a poster on an adjacent wall bearing the Ruskin quotation: “There is no wealth but life.”

Another stamp features Ruskin’s St George and the Dragon stencil drawing, which is housed in Museum Sheffield’s Ruskin collection.

Set of six stamps exploring the life of John Ruskin.

Frances Soar, Secretary of Walkley Historians Group, told the Telegraph: “I was thrilled to discover that our cherished Walkley Carnegie Library (or at least a corner of it!) and the large Ruskin street poster are illustrated on a recent series of special Ruskin themed stamps.

"We are very proud of Ruskin's links with Walkley. He has become part of our extended family.

"When he was first establishing the Guild of St George in the late 19th century he happened to visit Sheffield and was so impressed with Walkley that he was thinking of establishing a museum. They found a cottage in Walkley to house the first museum. Ruskin provided all of the exhibits for it.

"In some things he was of his time but in others he was very much ahead of his time. He was interested in getting Sheffielders to take an interest in arts and the countryside.

Frances outside the library at Walkley with the Ruskin inspired Isle of Man stamp

“His whole project was to buy up land and establish home grown food and get people out of the industrial areas and into the countryside.

"The quote on the stamp is important. Ruskin lived by that and it’s quite nice to think that we do too.

Frances has lived in Walkley for the last 30 years.

She added: “My parents didn’t live there but my grandparents and great grandparents did.

Frances outside the library at Walkley with the Ruskin inspired Isle of Man stamp

“I like to think that when I walk along the shops in Walkley that they and Ruskin walked there too.”

Designer Emma Cooke created the set of six stamps with the assistance of the Ashmolean Museum and the Guild of St. George.

The set marks the 150th anniversary of the Guild of St George, Ruskin’s utopian society.