An examination of the role of art in society, which is built around a dramatisation of a lecture by John Ruskin. Ruskin poses four questions: how to discover the artist; how best to employ the artist; how to accumulate and preserve the work of the artist; and how to distribute it to the best national advantage. Reconsiders Ruskin’s Victorian age questions in contemporary terms by looking at such problems as art education in schools, the role of public galleries and photography as art. This film is sponsored by the Arts Council of Great Britain. Narrated by Jim Broadbent.