Back to homepage
Help Info



Stone Carving

Around the museum you will find beautifully carved stonework up high and down low. The carvings were created by exceptionally talented stonemasons the O’Shea brothers. If you look around you will see carvings of plants which were modelled directly from real plants from the University’s Botanic Garden. The O’Shea brothers also carved animals, look in the museum porch to find a parrot, an owl and see if you can identify any others.


John Ruskin

Although the building was created to house a science collection, it was designed and created by artists and skilled craftsmen. One man that was very influential in the design of the building was art critic John Ruskin (1819 – 1900). Ruskin helped to start the Pre-Raphaelite movement which was about creating art that was true to nature. He believed that the building should be a vision of nature in its own right and each piece of the museum’s stone carving should be carefully copied from real plants.



The museum was built in 1860 and there was a open competition to design it. Benjamin Woodward was the architect who won the competition and created this beautiful building with the influence of John Ruskin. John Ruskin made drawings of what he hoped the museum would look like in terms of the design. Think about designing your own building and use the museum for inspiration.


This box shows you what you are viewing on the screen

Click the zoom buttons to zoom in and out on the picture

Toggle to turn hot spots on and off

Click on the info button to find out the details about this sketchbook

Click on a hotspot to find out more


This website is optimized for iPads and desktop displays. Anything below iPad size could result in strange behaviour...