London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1851, 1853, 1853. First Edition. A Near Fine set of Ruskin's famous work on Italian Architecture. In the publisher's original brown cloth, with blind and gilt stamping. Minor chipping at the spine ends, a few short splits to the cloth at the outer joints, otherwise bright and attractive. Internally in excellent condition, a few owners' bookplates and signature on the end papers, but otherwise appearing unused. A Massive work in three volumes, with over 1200 total pages, 16 page publisher's catalogues at the rear of each volume, and 54 plates with tissue guards.
"Ruskin is remembered chiefly as the great champion of art; if he found the artist a tradesman, it was he who gave the word its new meaning" (Printing and the Mind of Man, 315 for "Modern Painters," but mentioning this work). A champion of the Pre-Raphaelite artists and a leading critic of the Victorian era, Ruskin developed a reputation for interpreting important works through the lens of their social and political engagement. The Stones of Venice reflects Ruskin's deeply held belief that art was not limited to one medium, and that it could extend into works of architecture and craftsmanship. Near Fine (Item #2686)