Joseph Mallord William TurnerLecture Diagram 8/1: Ground Plan of a Stoa or Portico (after James Stuart) c.1810

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Lecture Diagram 8/1: Ground Plan of a Stoa or Portico (after James Stuart)
Date c.1810
MediumPen and ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 1000 x 672 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17140
Turner Bequest CXCV 169
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lecture Diagram 8/1: Ground Plan of a Stoa or Portico (after James Stuart) circa 1810
D17140
Turner Bequest CXCV 169
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 1000 x 672 mm
Watermarked ‘J WHATMAN | 1808’
Inscribed by Turner in red watercolour ‘8/1’ top left, ‘STUAERT’ top centre and ‘No 1’ bottom left and in black watercolour ‘EYE’ bottom centre
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘169’ top right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, Turner used part of Lecture 1 to show his students why their draughtsmanship would benefit from an understanding of the subject. To achieve this he produced three diagrams (see also Tate D17141 and D17142; Turner Bequest CXCV 170, 171) based on illustrations from James ‘Athenian’ Stuart’s and Nicholas Revett’s The Antiquities of Athens (1762, vol.I, chap.V. pls II and IV). This four-volume treatise had inspired the revival of the Greek architectural style in Europe and North America by providing motifs and designs of previously-undocumented classical buildings. Stuart and Revett used measured plans and elevations to illustrate the exact layout and dimensions of each structure. Although Turner praises the publication as ‘a most respectable work,’ he argues that such geometrical drawings have their limitations and that draughtsmen should also prepare perspective views to present a varied and more accurate impression of a building in its surrounding space.1
Diagram 8/1 is a ground plan of a classical building described by Stuart and Revett as ‘a stoa or portico, commonly supposed to be the remains of the Temple of Jupiter Olympus’ (the Olympieion). The plan allows Turner to show the vantage point (indicated by the word ‘eye’ at the bottom) used in his other two diagrams of this structure. A comparison of the drawings enables him to reveal how some free-standing columns (circles) and attached columns (squares) are obscured in a side elevation of the building. He does not discuss the issue in the version of Lecture 1 delivered in 1811, although a reference made in pencil to ‘Stuart’s Athens Drawing’ in the margin of his text indicates that he may have introduced the topic in subsequent revisions of the material.2 A later manuscript also used for lecturing refers directly to all three diagrams.3 The material is also discussed in a lecture manuscript titled ‘Light, Shade, and Reflexies’.4 There is a preliminary sketch in a manuscript filled with Turner’s notes.5
1
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 J folio 12.
2
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 K folio 13 verso.
3
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 J folio 13.
4
Private collection, folios 21–2.
5
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 BB folio 33.
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 ‘163’ top left.

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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