John Ruskin and His ‘Witch of Sicily’, Amy Yule
John Ruskin’s visit to Sicily in the spring of 1874 is largely neglected in the main biographies and generally regarded as a mere adjunct to the more significant purpose of his trip to Italy in that year, studying the work of Botticelli and other Old Masters first in Florence and at Assisi, and then in Rome. The ten-day break from study between 20 and 30 April, apparently at the casual invitation of slight acquaintances, Colonel and Mrs Henry Yule, then living in Palermo, has tended to be seen as an unimportant interlude, even though it does represent the furthest point in Europe (and therefore the world) to which he ever travelled. Recent research has uncovered a good deal more about his hosts in Palermo, and especially their daughter Amy, who begins to emerge as one of the forgotten, but not least important, figures in Ruskin’s later personal life.
Keywords: Travel • Sicily • John Ruskin • Yule family • Palermo