View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This is the second of two diagrams shown by Turner during Lecture 2 as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy to illustrate his discussion of rectilinear perspective. Like Diagram 17 (Tate D17030; Turner Bequest CXCV 60), Diagram 18 is based on an illustration from Book II of A Compleat Treatise on Perspective in Theory and Paractice on the True Principles of Dr Brook Taylor (1775, pl.V, fig.15) by the elder Thomas Malton (1726–1801). Turner notes the complexity of the diagram, specifically its ‘multiplicity of lines’ which can only be achieved through ‘absolute and positive practice’.1
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 L folio 7. For earlier versions of related lecture material, see E folio 8 verso.
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Double Elephant size Whatman paper made by William Balston, at Springfield Mill, Maidstone, Kent. The largest group within the perspective drawings, this batch of paper shows a ‘grid-like series of shadows that can be seen within the sheet in transmitted light. This appears to have been caused by a trial method of supporting the woven wire mould cover on the mould’. Because this is the only batch he has seen with such a feature, Bower believes that ‘it may have been tried on one pair of moulds and for some reason never tried again’. He also writes that it is ‘not the best Whatman paper by any means; the weight of this group is also very variable and the moulds have not been kept clean during use’.1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘63’ bottom left.
Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation