Lancaster University is to receive Pounds 2.3 million from the National Lottery to build the Ruskin Library. It will house the world's foremost collection of art, manuscripts, books and diaries relating to Victorian art critic and social commentator John Ruskin.
Michael Wheeler, director of the Ruskin programme at Lancaster, said it was entirely appropriate that lottery money should be used for the library.
"Ruskin was a great teacher, campaigner and controversialist," he said.
"During the 1850s he taught in the Working Men's College in London. He fiercely attacked the worst aspects of industrialisation and actively promoted art education and museums for the working classes. He dedicated his life to teaching a whole generation how to see."
The library would ensure that the valuable collection, currently in the Isle of Wight, would be available for the first time to the general public.
The balance of the money required to complete the project will come from the university, which has pledged Pounds 600,000 plus a further Pounds 175,000 raised from a mixture of foundations, companies and individuals. Running costs are also assured thanks to an individual donor who has given Pounds 500,000 as an endowment fund.
The collection is due to be moved to Lancaster by the end of 1996 where it will undergo an urgent programme of conservation. A fund-raising campaign to support this work is being launched this week.
However, the chairman of the parents' association at Bembridge School on the Isle of Wight said this week that the school owns some of the Ruskin paintings which are earmarked for the Lancaster library.