Patrick Richardson (1774–1824)
John Ruskinʼs uncle by marriage in 1804 to Janet (“Jessie”) Richardson, sister of John James Ruskin. The family lived in Perth, Scotland. Patrick died on 20 July 1824. Both before and after his death, the Ruskinsʼ journeys to Perth were a nearly annual feature of Ruskinʼs boyhood (see Tours of 1822–24; Tours of 1826–27; for Patrickʼs life dates, see Viljoen, Ruskinʼs Scottish Heritage, 182, 185).
Patrickʼs profession, tanning, was among the trades on the move in Perth, a self‐styled progressive and modernizing city. Allegedly, Patrick was boastful and exaggerated his wealth, however; and according to a canceled passage of Praeterita, his death in 1824 left his wife with only “a moderate independence, and six children”—that is, six surviving children in 1824, four having already perished—“with whom, leaving the large house and river‐bank garden of Bridge End, [Jessie] crossed the Tay to Rose Terrace” on the west bank (Ruskin, Works, 35:409; see Viljoen, Ruskinʼs Scottish Heritage, 73–74).
The impression of Patrickʼs extravagance is confirmed by John Jamesʼs household accounts, which document his financial support to Jessie and her children after Patrickʼs death (John James Ruskin, Account Book [1827–45]). Van Akin Burd finds that Patrick acquired Bridge End—a substantial, particoed house—in 1818, but paid only the interest on the purchase. In April 1826, the property was transferred to the trustees of the estate and sold the following month (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 101 n. 3). Rose Terrace on the opposite bank of the Tay, where Jessie moved after her husbandʼs death, had remained with the family as their first‐owned domicile—initially leased by Patrick in 1806, and then purchased in 1811. Meanwhile, in 1812, the parents of Jessie Richardson and John James Ruskin—Catherine Tweddale Ruskin (1763–1817) and John Thomas Ruskin (1761–1817)—moved to a house in Perth, Bowerswell. This house was situated a short distance from the site of Bridge End, which Patrick would acquire six years later. Bowerswell is a villa on the slopes leading to the Hill of Kinnoull. The elder Ruskins moved here from Edinburgh in order to reduce living expenses. Between the two cities, they sojourned for a time in the seacoast town of Dysart (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 26, 48 n. 1, 51 n. 1).