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On the eastern shore of Coniston Water, Brantwood was the cherished home of John Ruskin (1819-1900), the noted Victorian artist, writer, critic, and social reformer, after 1872. The rambling 18th-century house (with Victorian alterations) is on a 250-acre estate that stretches high above the lake. Here, alongside mementos such as his mahogany desk, are Ruskin's own paintings, drawings, and books. On display is art that this great connoisseur collected, and in cerebral corners such as the Ideas Room visitors are encouraged to think about meaning and change. Ruskin's Rocks explores his fascinations with stones and music with a brilliant bit of modern technology. A video on Ruskin's life shows the lasting influence of his thoughts, and the Severn Studio has rotating art exhibitions. Ruskin himself laid out the extensive grounds; take time to explore the gardens and woodland walks. Brantwood hosts a series of classical concerts on some Saturdays as well as talks, guided walks, and study days. Coniston Launch (www.conistonlaunch.co.uk) has hourly service to Brantwood on its wooden Ruskin and Ransome boats.
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