Your iron railing always means thieves outside, or Bedlam inside.
The Houses of Parliament
The most effeminate and effectless heap of stones ever raised by man.
Wagner’s The Meistersingers
Of all the bête, clumsy, blundering, boggling, baboon-blooded stuff I ever saw on a human stage, that thing last night beat — as far as the acting and story went — and of all the affected, sapless, soulless, beginningless, endless, topless, bottomless, topsiturviest, tuneless and scrannelpipiest — tongs and boniest — doggerel of sounds I ever endured the deadliness of, that eternity of nothing was the deadliest, so far as the sound went. I never was so relieved, so far as I can remember in my life, by the stopping of any sound — not excepting railway whistles — as I was by the cessation of the cobbler’s bellowing.
Letter to Georgiana Burne-Jones, 30th June, 1882
The Renaissance buildings of Venice
Among the worst and basest buildings ever built by the hand of man.
I would have nothing to do with lawyers. None of them shall have so much as a crooked sixpence of mine to save him from being hanged or the Lakes from being filled up.
The first of all English games is making money. That is an all-absorbing game, and we knock each other down oftener at playing that than at playing football, or any other roughest sport, and it is absolutely without purpose; no one who engages heartily in that game ever knows why…
The Crown of Wild Olives, Lecture One, p. 23 – 24
King’s College Chapel, Cambridge
How many buildings like King’s College Chapel at Cambridge, looking like tables upside down, with their four legs in the air! What! It will be said, have not beasts four legs?
Seven Lamps of Architecture, p. 229
The architecture of Palladio is wholly virtueless and despicable.
Modern Painter, Volume iii, p. 61
A railway station
It is the very temple of discomfort, and the only charity the builder can extend to us is to show us, a plainly as may be, how soonest to escape it. The whole system of railroad travelling is addressed to people, being in a hurry, and therefore, for the time being, miserable…It transmutes a man from a traveller to a living parcel.
Seven Lamps of Architecture, p. 220
Railways around Dieppe
Of all the beastly, blockheadedly, loggerheady, doggish, loggish, hoggish-poggish, filthy, fool-begotten, swindler-swallowed abominations of modern existence, the railways around Dieppe beat the world.
From a letter to Joan Severn, 1880
I not only object but am quite prepared to spend all my best bad language in reprobation of the bicyle… and every other contrivance or invention for superseding human feet on God’s ground. To walk, to run, to leap, and to dance are the virtues of the human body, and neither to ride on stilts, wriggle on wheels, or dangle on ropes and nothing in the training of the human mind with the body will ever supersede the appointed God’s way of slow walking and hard working.
The English Constitution
The rottenest mixture of Simony, bribery, sneaking tyranny, shameless cowardice, an accomplished lying that ever the Devil chewed small to spit into God’s paradise.
From a letter to Thomas Carlyle, 1875
Victorian Church Statuary
A gross of kings sent down from Kensington.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
I believe it to be simply the most disgusting book ever written by man.
They’ve been doing photographs of me again, and I’m an orangutan as usual, and am in despair.
This list was compiled by Two Temple Place for the 2019 John Ruskin bicentenary exhibition. The above photo is from the National Portrait Gallery.