Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram 39: Perspective Method for a Circle (after Jacques Androuet du Cerceau)

c.1810

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 672 x 1003 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17056
Turner Bequest CXCV 86

Catalogue entry

Prepared by Turner for Lecture 3 as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, Diagram 39 illustrates a method for a perspective representation of a circle by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau (1515–1585). According to Maurice Davies, a sketch in an early draft of the lecture text and the lecture diagram are close to figures found in du Cerceau’s Leçons de perspective positive (1576, leçon VIII).1 ‘But, as is often the case, [Turner] seems to have ignored the accompanying text and his description has nothing in common with the wording of the translation.’2 He later revised his description in order to correct his error.3
1
Davies 1994, p.126; Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 F folio 9 verso.
2
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 F folios 9 verso–10 and M folio 13.
3
Ibid., M folio 13.
Technical notes:
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
1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Verso:
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘87’ 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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