From 1855-1865, Ruskin trained Octavia as an artist, to copy original works of art. One such painting is Bellini’s masterful The Doge Leonardo Loredan of 1501. The original is now in the National Gallery. Octavia’s copy is on display in the Ruskin Gallery in Sheffield.
The articles helped attract highly placed patrons, including Princess Alice, Queen Victoria’s second daughter, who had Octavia’s book translated into German.
Octavia Hill saw her whole life as an exercise on learning and teaching. She taught in the family private school, at the Working Men’s College and in later life, campaigned via public speeches, lectures and articles, whilst training her volunteers in housing management. A school report signed by all five sisters can be seen in the museum.
In 1994, the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust (registered charity no.1018947) purchased part of the house, opening a museum that is entirely run by volunteers. It attracts visitors from all over the world.
In 2007, the Trust purchased the rest of Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Regional Development Fund and a fundraising appeal, the reunification project was completed in 2009.
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