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The making of John Ruskin's Eurythmic Girls
John Ruskin's Eurythmic Girls is a Radio 3 Sunday Feature which airs this Sunday Feb 26th at 645pm Intellectual and art school champion of medieval art he may have been, but it is John Ruskin's alleged horror of female pubic hair that seems to define him in the popular imagination now. I first heard the claim as an undergraduate. Emma Thompson's film Effie Grey appeared to add that he was an oppressed mummy's boy, too. My documentary programme grew out of an invitation to address Speech Day at Queenswood School in Hertfordshire 2 years ago which suddenly opened up a new way of seeing him. The school had been named in reference to Of Queens' Gardens, Ruskin's famous speech and subsequently published essay about raising girls like flowers, to be educated and freed from the narrowest constraints of traditional feminine upbringing. Archivist Dr Wendy Bird showed me photos, letters and a mini mock up of the infamous "purple horror" floaty Liberty-designed dresses that early pupils would wear for special occasions. There was