Joseph Mallord William TurnerLecture Diagram 12: Parallel Lines with a Series of Converging Lines (?after Samuel Wale) c.1810

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Lecture Diagram 12: Parallel Lines with a Series of Converging Lines (?after Samuel Wale)
Date c.1810
MediumPen and ink, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 482 x 600 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17026
Turner Bequest CXCV 56
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lecture Diagram 12: Parallel Lines with a Series of Converging Lines (?after Samuel Wale) circa 1810
D17026
Turner Bequest CXCV 56
Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on white wove paper, 482 x 600 mm
Watermarked ‘1794 | J WHATMAN’
Inscribed by Turner in red watercolour ‘12’ top left and ‘S Wale’ top centre and ‘1st PARALLEL | 2nd PARALLEL’ centre
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘56’ bottom right’
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, Turner began Lecture 2 with a discussion of Thomas Malton’s first theorem on vision as it relates to perspective1; see Diagram 11 (Tate D17145; Turner Bequest CXCV 174). He then turns to Theorem II which he describes as showing how ‘parallel right lines appear to approach each other and meet in a point in an infinite distance’.2 He refers to a diagram numbered ‘12’, but as Davies observes, the present one ‘does not seem to illustrate the theorem’. On the diagram itself, Turner attributes the method illustrated to Samuel Wale (?1721–1786), first Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. Wale is not known to have published anything on the subject, but Maurice Davies explains that Turner may have had access to unpublished material.3 There is a sketch related to the diagram in Turner’s first draft of Lecture 2.4
1
Thomas Malton [Senior], A Compleat Treatise on Perspective in Theory and Practice on the True Principles of Dr Brook Taylor (1775, pl.1, fig.3).
2
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 L folio 2.
3
Davies 1992, p.104 note 15.
4
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 D folio 1 verso.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Royal size Whatman 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 ‘58’ bottom left.

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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