J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

Joseph Mallord William Turner Lecture Diagram 8/2: Elevation of a Stoa or Portico (after James Stuart) c.1810

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lecture Diagram 8/2: Elevation of a Stoa or Portico (after James Stuart) circa 1810
D17141
Turner Bequest CXCV 170
Watercolour over transfer ink on white wove paper, 674 x 1003 mm
Watermarked ‘J WHATMAN | 1808’
Inscribed by Turner in red watercolour ‘8/2’ top left
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘170’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg mistakenly associated this diagram with the colonnade of Carlton House, London, for which see Diagram 8/9 (Tate D17143; Turner Bequest CXCV 172). Instead, it is a side elevation of a classical stoa or portico based on plates published in James ‘Athenian’ Stuart’s and Nicholas Revett’s The Antiquities of Athens (1762, vol.I, chap.V, pls.II and IV). It is one of three diagrams made by Turner from these illustrations for his lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy (see also Tate D17140 and D17142; Turner Bequest CXCV 169, 171). Stuart and Revett describe the building as one ‘commonly supposed to be the remains of the Temple of Jupiter Olympus’ (the Olympieion).
Turner uses the diagram to illustrate how geometric elevations rendered in simple outline make it difficult to read the relationships and distances between columns and walls. This is made particularly obvious when compared to the ground plan of the actual layout of the structure (D17140). As the elevation is a direct and flat projection of the portico from the side, the viewer cannot see how many columns are along the building’s front. D17142 is another side elevation of the same building, this time with colour and shading.
Turner does not discuss Stuart and Revett’s plans and elevations in the version of Lecture 1 delivered in 1811, although a reference to ‘Stuart’s Athens Drawing’ pencilled in the margin of his text indicates that he may have introduced the topic in subsequent re-workings of the material.1 A later manuscript also used for lecturing refers directly to all three diagrams.2 The material is also discussed in a lecture manuscript titled ‘Light, Shade, and Reflexies’.3 There is a preliminary sketch in a manuscript filled with Turner’s notes.4
1
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 K folio 13 verso.
2
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 J folio 13.
3
Private collection, folio 21–2.
4
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 BB folio 33.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Double Elephant size Whatman paper made by William Balston, at Springfield Mill, Maidstone, Kent. The largest group within the perspective drawings, this batch of paper shows a ‘grid-like series of shadows that can be seen within the sheet in transmitted light. This appears to have been caused by a trial method of supporting the woven wire mould cover on the mould’. Because this is the only batch he has seen with such a feature, Bower believes that ‘it may have been tried on one pair of moulds and for some reason never tried again’. He also writes that it is ‘not the best Whatman paper by any means; the weight of this group is also very variable and the moulds have not been kept clean during use’.1
For indications of Turner’s transfer process, used to create the outlines of this diagram, see Tate D40015.
1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Verso:
Blank

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

How to cite

Andrea Fredericksen, ‘Lecture Diagram 8/2: Elevation of a Stoa or Portico (after James Stuart) c.1810 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, June 2004, revised by David Blayney Brown, January 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-lecture-diagram-82-elevation-of-a-stoa-or-portico-after-r1136468, accessed 22 August 2014.