Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram: Anamorphic Perspective

c.1817–28

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

Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 488 x 695 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17106
Turner Bequest CXCV 135

Catalogue entry

Made in connection with Turner’s lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, this diagram of a head within a grid works along with another diagram (Tate D17107; Turner Bequest CXCV 136, and see also D16988; Turner Bequest CXCV 19) to illustrate anamorphic perspective. This method produces a distorted image that appears in natural form only when viewed at a special angle or reflected from a curved mirror.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower (unpublished notes)1 writes that the sheet is Super Royal size Whatman paper made by Finch and Thomas Robert Hollingworth, at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. This group ‘show both very good sheets as well as some outside, or retree, sheets where the “back” of the sheet, size spots and streaking, and formation shadows are visible’.
1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Verso:
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘129’ bottom left.
Andrea Fredericksen
January2004
Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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