Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Notes on Perspective, from Salomon de Caus


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 88 x 115 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVIII 4

Catalogue entry

The whole page is taken up with the following notes from the French:
Ilya une autre facon de metre les ombres en racourissement | laquelle enseigne Albert Durer et son livre de Geometry qui | est apres que l’on aura assis les poincts the lumiere tant | d’hauteur que le longeur [?tires] les ray visual aux dicts | poincts jusque à la ligne taillé puis raporter, la hauteur | de IV qui est [‘la’ inserted above] de [?cluy] de Ortographie en la | longeur X de la ligne taillée de Ignographee puis du <...> | poinct N tirer de rays de lumi<...> outre the angles | HEF jusque ’a ce qui touchent les autre rays qui seront | tirées du poinct d’[?enbas] aux angles the cube CDB&a | l’atouchment qui se seront <...> un avec lautre | se seront les <...> [?ones mes] points 2 RS faicts | au precedent tellement que l’une [?memiore] se raporte | à lautre mais quand il y a plusieurs corps di[...] divers | inregulierement posée la premire [?mannier] est la <plus> | plus facille comme sera monstré par cy après aussi | elle est un peu plus longe
v frequently for u and u for v
Maurice Davies has identified the notes and diagrams on folios 3 recto to 4 verso (D07359, D07360, the present page, D07362) as taken from Salomon de Caus, La Perspective avec la raison des ombres et miroirs, London 1612 (see also folio 54 verso; D07450), in this case from unpaginated folio 42 verso. The same passages are translated from the French in Turner’s perspective lecture manuscripts, though apparently not in his hand.1 The last line presumably refers to the type face used in the edition Turner consulted, reflecting a convention common in early printed books.
Davies 1994, pp.98, 287, 298 note 23; see also Powell 1995, p.10. Davies notes the translations as in Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 BB folios 62 recto, verso.
Technical notes:
This and the opposite page (folio 3 verso; D07360) are heavily stained in the centre with mottled ochre marks which appear within a roughly regular outline, suggesting that something may previously have been loosely placed at this point, perhaps as a bookmark.

Matthew Imms
June 2008

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