“Calais” Drawing 4 of 4
The editors of the Library Edition describe the image as “a sketch of Calais Square, or market‐place, with two figures—a man and woman, and a child (? J.J.R., M.R., and J.R.)—evidently British, at whom a Frenchman, who is wheeling a barrow near them, looks in amazement. The child has its hands uplifted in wonder, and is looking at the quaint buildings” (Ruskin, Works, 2:342 n. 2). In the editorsʼ description, the second dash should be moved to follow “woman”, as there are obviously three British family figures.
The editors also gloss the poem and prose sections of “Calais” with the comparison of France and England in The Poetry of Architecture, §16 (Ruskin, Works, 1:14).
As suggested by the editorsʼ query, it seems unlikely that Ruskin intended himself, at age 14, for the third figure, the child, since the child wears skirts and a bonnet. The child figure might be meant as his cousin, Mary Richardson (1815–49), but she was a young woman at this date. More likely, while the drawing may contain some self‐mockery, it is meant to satirize national characteristics generally—an English family, rotund and naive, contrasted with the skinny Frenchman pushing the wheelbarrow, and thus drawing on such nationalistic tropes as found in William Hogarthʼs (1697–1764) The Gate of Calais; or, The Roast Beef of Old England (1748/49).