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John Ruskin letters about Effy Gray sell for £90,000

Letter from John Ruskin Image copyright Bonhams

Previously unseen letters offering insights into the failed marriage of 19th Century critic John Ruskin have sold at auction for nearly £90,000.

Effie Gray, Ruskin's wife, left the art critic for his protege, Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais.

The doomed marriage is the subject of the recently released film Effie Gray.

The 75 letters written by Ruskin to a priest offer some frank observations, including that he "married like a fool, because a girl's face pleased me".

He went on to say: "She married me for my money, breaking her faith to a poor lover."

'Non-activity in the bedroom'

Ruskin wrote this in 1872 - almost 20 years after the annulment of the marriage - at which time he lived in Coniston, Cumbria.

The letters went to a private collector for £88,900 at Bonhams auction house in London.

Luke Batterham, from Bonhams, described the correspondence as a "very rare" insight into the couple's marriage.

He said: "He met Effie Gray when she was 12, married her when she was 17 and the marriage only lasts five years.

"She pushed for an annulment due to non-activity in the bedroom, is the contended idea from her side."

He said the letters had been kept by Ruskin's family and gone unseen until now.

Image copyright Rotary Photos
Image caption John Ruskin was a critic, painter, writer and patron of the arts

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