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

Joseph Mallord William Turner Lecture Diagram: London Steeples c.1810-28

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lecture Diagram: London Steeples circa 1810–28
D17112
Turner Bequest CXCV 141
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 657 x 824 mm
Watermarked ‘J RUSE | 1800’
Inscribed by Turner in red watercolour ‘S Luke’, ‘C of Physicians’, ‘S Magnus’ and ‘Bow Ch’ below images
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘141’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Drawn in connection with Turner’s lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, these steeples belong to buildings in London: from left to right, St Luke’s Church, Old Street, by John James and Nicholas Hawksmoor, the former Royal College of Physicians, Warwick Lane and the churches of St Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames Street, and St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, both by Christopher Wren.
Turner considers various architectural elements when discussing ‘geometric forms of architecture in the province of the geometric laws of perspective’1 and refers to Bow Church and St. Magnus in a manuscript used for lecturing sometime around 1818.2 An unidentified press report of his lecture on 4 January 1819 records that he ‘touched a little on the principles of architecture and introduced some fine drawings of the Royal College of Physicians in Warwick Lane ... and other public buildings in the metropolis’.3
1
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 T folio 14 verso.
2
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 T folios 16, 19.
3
Cited by Judy Egerton [and Clifford Ellis], ‘JMWT PP’: A Selection of Drawings Made by Turner to Illustrate his Royal Academy Lectures as Professor of Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1980, p.[5] under no.12.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Pott Quad size paper made by Joseph Ruse, Upper Tovil Mill, Maidstone, Kent.1
1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Verso:
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘135’ bottom left

Andrea Fredericksen
January 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

How to cite

Andrea Fredericksen, ‘Lecture Diagram: London Steeples c.1810–28 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 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-london-steeples-r1136773, accessed 22 October 2014.