This introduction provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book revisits John Ruskin's writings in the contemporary age of surface consciousness, and positions it as part of a larger, and an almost transhistorical debate on surface. It delves into a network of ideas and utterances across Ruskin's oeuvre, to bring forth his otherwise elusive theories of dress and architecture. The book shows that Ruskin was cognizant of three-dimensional space and structure, but he was not interested in the "normative" understanding of architecture. It considers the spiritual and gendered life of architecture and shows that Ruskin's focus on dress and textile was actually linked to the idea of life in architecture. The book reinforces Ruskin's status as the co–founder of dress studies with Carlyle, as it reveals his tacit theory of dress. It discusses Ruskin's readings of Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings to reveal his imaginative textile historiography.