Victorian John Ruskin look-alike comes to the Fens for costumed re-enactment of the critic’s famous lecture at Cambridge school of art
A doppelganger of one of the Victorian era’s biggest critics was in Wisbech last weekend for a re-enactment of the star’s most iconic moments.
Actor and historian, Paul O'Keefe, stepped into the shoes of Mr Ruskin on Friday (June 29) as he performed the opening of Anglia Ruskin University and his famous lecture to art pupils.
A campaigner as well as an artist, Ruskin once used his inheritance money to buy the first houses for Wisbech's Octavia Hill.
Art historian Aldo Ierubino said that everyone in the audience at Octavia Hill's Birthplace
House 'transfixed' by the first-class performance of Dr O'Keefe,
Mr O'Keefe has appeared as Ruskin at the Edinburgh Festival and the National Portrait Gallery.
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Mr Ierubino said: "Dr O'Keefe was brilliant, a veritable lookalike, and he injected Ruskin's prose with real verve and dramatic emphasis, which took away any potential dullness in the actor and art historian.
"I have been reminded that I should go back to the texts, for they have a great deal to say about art that is still relevant today."
Taking part on Saturday (July 6) is an open day with free entry to the Birthplace House and a collector's market on the adjoining Centenary Green in Somers Road from 10am to 3pm.
Visitors will have the chance to snap up collectables including vinyl, china, books, beer mats, who has appeared as Ruskin at the Edinburgh Festival and the National Portrait Gallery.
All items will be sold for £1 and the proceeds go to the volunteer-run Birthplace House.
There will also be a chance to ride on the Octavia Hill open-topped bus during the procession at 11am and 2pm.
A space has been booked for an Octavia Hill table in Museum Square and the newly opened Octavia Hill Clock Bookshop at 4 Post Office Lane is set to do a roaring trade.
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