Joseph Mallord William Turner

Diagram and Notes on Perspective (Inscriptions by Turner)

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: 180 x 107 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D07835
Turner Bequest CXII 77 a

Catalogue entry

These notes predominantly in French but with interventions in English are not transcribed here in view of Turner’s imperfect French and transliteration. Together with the diagram below them on this leaf they are taken from Jan (Hans) Vredeman de Vries, Perspective, part 2, Leyden 1605, preface and pl.18. Turner usually used the British Museum’s library for such works; in this instance his likely source is now in the British Library. Vredeman de Vries (1527–circa 1607) was most notable for his assertion that the basic principle of perspective is the existence of vanishing points on which all lines converge, as demonstrated in the diagram where they join at a point on the horizon line
Below the drawing, Turner has written ‘by crossing the work square it makes almost ... | thing possible’.

David Blayney Brown
June 2009

Read full Catalogue entry