Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Wayside Cross or Shrine in Perspective, after Viator (Jean Pélerin)

c.1809

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Pen and ink on paper
Dimensions
Support: 88 x 115 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D07395
Turner Bequest CVIII 26 a

Catalogue entry

The diagram is not annotated. Maurice Davies has identified it as coming from Viator (Jean Pélerin), De Artificiali Perspectiva, Toul 1505, plate Bii.1 This rather quaint engraving shows a cross with steps all around, in a landscape of distant rolling hills and trees; below is a plan of the concentric steps, seen in perspective, with a ruled horizontal line underneath, as Turner shows.
There are further notes from this source on folio 27 recto opposite (D07396; see catalogue entry for more on Viator himself), and on folios 44 recto and 61 recto (D07429, D07458).
Andrea Fredericksen has linked Turner’s sketches of Viator’s diagram of a square in perspective on folios 27 recto and 44 recto to his perspective lecture diagram 27, showing concentric squares in perspective (see entry for Tate D17041; Turner Bequest CXCV 71). That diagram also seems to have been informed by the present drawing, combining the diamond shape here with the lines receding to three vanishing points set down on the other pages.
1
Davies 1994, p.288.
Technical notes:
There is some offsetting from the diagram and inscription in ink opposite on folio 27 recto (D07396).

Matthew Imms
June 2008

Read full Catalogue entry

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