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This is the second of the diagrams of colour circles (see also Tate D17149; Turner Bequest CXCV 178) created by Turner towards the end of his tenure as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. See notes to D17149 for John Gage’s provisional dating of the diagrams and corresponding lecture text to 1827, when Turner would have heard Thomas Phillips’s Academy lectures on colour, and his further suggestion that Turner had collected the relevant information earlier, perhaps in 1825.1 Turner based the drawings on a colour wheel from Moses Harris’s manual, Natural System of Colours (1811, p.5) but, as both Gage and Martin Kemp describe, rethought and reconfigured Harris’s wheel to explore the differences between ‘aerial’ or light colours, as in the spectrum (in Colour Circle No.1, see Tate D17149), as in the spectrum, and ‘material’ colours, as in pigments (in Colour Circle No.2), as in pigments. This diagram shows how the three primary colours – yellow, blue and red – mix to make a muddy grey.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 BB folios 66–7, 68–9 verso.
Currently laid down
Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
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