Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to issue this set of six stamps in celebration of the life and legacy of one of Victorian Britain’s most influential figures, John Ruskin. The Guild of St. George; set-up by Ruskin 150 years ago, played a pivotal role in the history of the Laxey Woollen Mills, a Manx institution that continues to practice traditional crafting methods to this day.
John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, water-colourist, philosopher, prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He founded The Guild of St. George charitable and Educational Trust in 1871.
Lead by Ruskin and Rydings, the Guild founded the Laxey Woollen Mills in 1881 in order to promote and preserve the art of weaving traditional Manx tweed and worsted. The mill still remains operational to this day, and celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, whilst the Guild celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2021. This six stamp issue commemorates both landmark anniversaries.
Whilst on the Isle of Man, Ruskin converted a corn mill to a water-powered woollen mill, incorporating a dyeing, spinning and carding manufactory. The mills became well-known for their high quality homespun cloth, helping to preserve Manx heritage and tradition for years to come, as was originally intended by Ruskin and the Guild. To this day, the mill continues to operate in much the same way as was intended by Ruskin 140 years ago with an ever increasing emphasis on sustainability and use of loaghtan wool for its core products.