THE man credited with inspiring the revival of interest in the writer, philosopher and art critic John Ruskin, has died at the age of 90.

James S. Dearden, master of the Guild of St George from 2004 to 2009 and a former Bembridge School pupil, died on October 23.

The guild is the charity for arts, crafts and the rural economy, founded by Ruskin in 1871.

Mr Dearden had been curator of the Whitehouse collection at Bembridge School, convenor of the Brantwood Conference, widely thought to have launched the Ruskin revival, and a St George's guild director for 35 years.

He wrote many books and was advisor to three generations of Ruskin scholars.

Clive Wilmer, who wrote his obituary for the guild, said: "It helped that he was a modest, unselfish man, friendly, convivial and an engaging raconteur. There can be no Ruskinians who are not, directly or indirectly, in his debt. "

Born in the Lake District in 1931, Mr Dearden attended Bembridge School from 1945 to 1949.

The school had been founded on experimentally Ruskinian lines by the philanthropist and Liberal politician J. Howard Whitehouse, who went on to purchase Ruskin’s house on Coniston Water and was building up a comprehensive collection of Ruskin’s books, manuscripts, drawings and memorabilia, which were held at the school.

In 1957, Mr Dearden returned to the school to teach printing, a key part of the school’s Ruskinian emphasis on craft.

He built up a number of book collections, of which the most wide-reaching was of Ruskin.

Mr Dearden also had good knowledge of the Lake District and the IW.

He was a member of Bembridge Sailing Club and master, chairman and president of the Isle of Wight Foot Beagles.

His work for the Whitehouse Collection led him to the US, Japan and Italy.

After his retirement he was made honorary doctor of letters (D Litt) at Lancaster University and, in 2018, he was appointed MBE for services to culture.

Earlier this year, at an online ceremony, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the newly founded Ruskin Society of North America in celebration of his 90th birthday.

He was married in 1958 to Jill Cheverton, whom he’d met when both of them were working at the school. She died in 2015.

Mr Dearden leaves a daughter, Sarah Washington, and three granddaughters, Caroline, Harriet and Elizabeth.