Joseph Mallord William TurnerLecture Diagram 10: The (Old) Admiralty, Whitehall, London c.1810

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Artwork details

Lecture Diagram 10: The (Old) Admiralty, Whitehall, London
Date c.1810
MediumGraphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 782 x 1328 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCV 173
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lecture Diagram 10: The (Old) Admiralty, Whitehall, London circa 1810
Turner Bequest CXCV 173
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 782 x 1328 mm
Inscribed by Turner in red watercolour ‘10’ top left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The (Old) Admiralty, Whitehall, was designed by Thomas Ripley, circa 1722–6; the screen in front of the main building was added by Robert Adam, 1758.
As Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, Turner spent a large part of Lecture 1 discussing the failings of geometric elevations, arguing that the common practice of adding colour and shading – elements of atmospheric perspective – might give a false impression of an actual structure.1 After contrasting two similar views of Carlton House (Tate D17143, D17119; Turner Bequest CXCV 172, 148), one completed in perspective lines only and the other with colour and shading, Turner showed this large diagram of the Admiralty. According to Turner, this elevation is more acceptable than the shaded one of Carlton House because it better represents the building’s actual appearance, but the different treatment afforded the screen and main building still creates inconsistencies. For another diagram numbered ‘10’, of a completely different subject, Raphael’s Transfiguration, see Tate D17134; Turner Bequest CXCV 163.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 C folio 12– 12 verso, K folio 18 and J folio 15 verso.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Antiquarian size Whatman paper made either by William Balston, at Springfield Mill, Maidstone, Kent, or by Finch and Thomas Robert Hollingworth, at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. He explains that both Springfield and Turkey Mills produced Antiquarian sheets with the words ‘TURKEY MILL’ in the watermark. Finberg wrongly gives the watermark date as 1808.
Currently laid down.

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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