In October 1876, twenty-three–year–old Lilias began, with her mother, a trip to Venice, Italy. While in Lucerne, Lilias purchased a sketchbook in which she recorded the journey along the carriage roads to Venice—where she met the famed John Ruskin, Victorian England's arbiter of artistic taste and the author, no less, of The Stones of Venice, the definitive artistic and architectural history of the city.
Ruskin, impressed by young Lilias's talent, took it upon himself to educate her untrained eye, escorting her through the Grand Canal to view paintings and architecture, providing instruction in art which would continue in England.
This facsimile edition of the sketchbook she carried to Venice and, no doubt, on sketching trips with John Ruskin, reveals first her untrained artistic talent—the discovery of which Ruskin declared in his 1884 “Art of England" lecture to be “about the only thing that makes me content in having gone there." And it contains views of Venice most likely instructed by the master himself.