Read an excerpt from the diary

On these facing pages Ruskin made entries in two different years. He first wrote on the right-hand page in June 1876, describing his outdoor walks at home and his observations of nature in all its colorful variety, then added a drawing on the left-hand page. Below the drawing, he made an entry nearly seven years later, in 1883—he had filled all the right-hand pages of the diary and had gone back and begun filling those on the left.

June 1876. Brantwood.

12. Monday. Y[esterday] an entirely divine day with blue like opal, and white, fixed precious clouds, like background of deeply glowing Italian picture – Langdale Pikes relieved against two sickles of white cloud dovetailing into an S with larger mass above to finish [see illustration of this effect on facing page]. Diddie [his houseguest Sara Anderson] enjoying her walk, and helping me to chase a lamb (whose distress she first saw) over the tarn bridge back to its mother.

Clouded over as we returned faster than I ever saw. Now, a sweet soft white morning rain—diffused.

13. Tuesday. No getting things done in this house. Lost all yesterday calling on Marshalls in morning. Fine afternoon, throwing down stones in the wood with Diddie and Maggie. Exquisitest purple I ever saw on hills, in afternoon, and arch of rosy clouds all over old man [a nearby mountain] and opalescent green-blue and rose over blue Helvellyn, divine, but my evening spoiled by finding the poor chaffinch's nest in ruins, and nestlings dying. A hawk, I fancy, pouncing on the mother; – not able to return for the brood. Lolly [his secretary, Laurence Hilliard] came.

14. Wednesday. Exquisite fine woven sunset – and lovely morning. Change suddenly to evil temper at 1/2 past 6.

The Melly's y[esterday] to tea. Lolly came.

January 15. Monday, 1883

Rain all night – but slept well, after uncomfortable Sunday – (black fog and cold – I shivery and valueless) – helped by Italian medicine –

Thought over Francesca's [Alexander] tale and began a new Fors [his pamphlet series Fors Clavigera], I hope with the moral of it.