Joseph Mallord William TurnerLecture Diagram: Hamilton's Harmonic Proportions c.1810-28

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Artwork details

Lecture Diagram: Hamilton's Harmonic Proportions
Date c.1810-28
MediumPen and ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 485 x 682 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCV 162
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lecture Diagram: Hamilton’s Harmonic Proportions circa 1810–28
Turner Bequest CXCV 162
Pen and ink and watercolour on white wove paper 485 x 682 mm
Watermarked ‘1794 | J WHATMAN’
Inscribed by Turner in red watercolour ‘Hamiltons Harmonic Proportions’ top centre and by John Ruskin in red ink ‘162’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Made in connection with Turner’s lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, this diagram is based on figures 55 and 56 from John Hamilton’s Stereography; or a Complete Body of Perspective in all its Branches (1738, pl.18) where they illustrate ‘Properties of lines harmonically divided.’ Maurice Davies writes that the diagram was left unfinished. For a preliminary sketch by Turner, also after Hamilton, see the Perspective Sketchbook (Tate D07383; Turner Bequest CVIII 17).
Technical ntes:
Peter Bower (unpublished notes)1 writes that the sheet is Super Royal size Whatman paper made by William Balston and Finch and Thomas Robert Hollingworth, at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. Bower adds that ‘all the sheets in this batch have some streaking across the sheet, probably from a fault in the sizing’.

Andrea Fredericksen
January 2004

Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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