View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Turner drew this Doric entablature as a preparatory study for diagrams to show during his lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. It is partly based on an illustration in A Compleat Treatise on Perspective in Theory and Practice on the Principles of Dr Brook Taylor (1775, pl.XVIII, fig.86) by the elder Thomas Malton (1726–1801).1 Discussing its preparation, Maurice Davies explains that Turner
selected a perspective centre point near to the bottom right-hand corner of the sheet and set off accurate measurements of the entablature on a horizontal line across the top of the drawing. He used these to produce, near the top of the sheet, a plan of the object in perspective. This plan was built up with great care and includes details such as the exact position of each part of each triglyph. He constructed the final representation of the entablature directly beneath the plan and then added the shadows.2
Davies adds that the shadows do not seem to have been geometrically constructed, but were done most likely by eye.
Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation