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Prepared in connection with his lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, Turner’s diagram is based on one by John Joshua Kirby (1716–74) in Dr Brook Taylor’s Method of Perspective Made Easy; both in Theory and Practice (London 1768, vol.II, pl.XVI, fig.4). Kirby’s plate illustrates how to determine the reflection of an object in water. Turner’s diagram was most likely used to supplement existing lecture material. Judy Egerton describes it as ‘showing reflections of objects in a horizontal plane of reflection which is deemed to extend beneath them all: the notional reflection of the distant tower [numbered ‘4’] is shown to be too far away to appear in the real pond’.
Peter Bower writes that the sheet is Imperial size Whatman paper made by Finch and Thomas Robert Hollingworth, at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. Bower notes: ‘This paper is very heavily sized and bears some relationship to the Parchment Substitute papers produced by various hand made papermakers in the nineteenth century (and into the twentieth) for legal documents. Sometimes papermakers don’t quite keep up their quality control. In the case of this particular sheet [and about nine others from the same batch that Turner also used for diagrams] the mould has been left, probably over night, without being cleaned and small amounts of pulp have dried between the support bars under the mould cover and the two layers of woven wire making up the cover. This affects the drainage of the sheet during formation and leaves a clear impression of the mould’s actual structure and construction’.1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Blank, save for inscriptions by unknown hands in pencil ‘T.L. 458’ top left and ‘134’ bottom left.
Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
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