Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram 65: Interior of a Prison

c.1810

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

Medium
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 487 x 687 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17090
Turner Bequest CXCV 120

Display caption

This drawing is one of a series which Turner made to illustrate the lectures he delivered as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, a post held between 1807 and 1828. The influence of Piranesi's etchings is at its most pronounced here. The Italian printmaker's fantastical images of the imposing architecture of ancient Rome became very popular in Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century, and Turner had been engaged to copy some examples during the mid-1790s. In a particularly remarkable series,'I Carceri' (The Prisons), Piranesi grimly depicted the interiors of imaginary prisons. Here Turner adapted this Sublime genre to demonstrate the behaviour of shadows to his audience.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

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