Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram 11: Spheres at Different Distances from the Eye (after Thomas Malton Senior)

c.1810

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Pen and ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 590 x 724 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17145
Turner Bequest CXCV 174

Display caption

This diagram is based on an illustration from Thomas Malton’s A Compleat Treatise on Perspective 1775. It provides a model of vision as a cone of rays travelling from various globes towards the eye. Turner used it in Lecture 2 to discuss Malton’s first theorem that ‘Objects appear to have proportion to each other, respectively, as the angle under which they are seen’.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

This diagram is based on an illustration from A Compleat Treatise on Perspective in Theory and Practice on the True Principles of Dr Brook Taylor (1775, pl.1, fig.3) by the elder Thomas Malton (1726–1801). It provides a model of vision as a cone of rays travelling from various globes towards the eye. Turner used it for Lecture 2 as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. He began this by discussing Malton’s first theorem, which he paraphrases as demonstrating that ‘all objects appear in proportion to their several angles under which they are seen’.1 Turner made sketches of the theorem in both the first draft and subsequent copy of Lecture 2.2
1
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 L folio 1 verso.
2
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 D folio 1, 1 verso and MS E folio 2 verso.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Royal size Whatman paper made by William Balston and Finch and Thomas Robert Hollingworth, at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. He writes that ‘all the group of papers with 1794 dates in the watermark show considerable process dirt and poor formation’. He attributes a lack of quality control to James Whatman’s stroke and the change of ownership at the mill.1
1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Verso:
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘167’ bottom left.

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

Read full Catalogue entry

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