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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Lecture Diagram: Reflections in a Transparent Globe c.1810

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lecture Diagram: Reflections in a Transparent Globe circa 1810
Turner Bequest CXCV 177a
Oil paint on white wove paper, 220 x 264 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner produced this drawing of a transparent globe, along with others of globes made of different materials (Tate D17147, D40024–D40026; Turner Bequest CXCV 176, 177b–d), for a lecture on ‘reflexies’ (reflections) and their relationship to light and shade, to be given as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. These diagrams are not numbered, but Turner clearly refers to them in a manuscript used for lecturing in 1811.1 As Maurice Davies records, this diagram and three others (Tate D40024–40026) were once on a single sheet.2 A reference by Finberg to a single diagram numbered 177 of ‘glass balls, partly filled with water’ suggests that the larger sheet was still intact in 1909. Sketches of the globes can be found in Turner’s first draft of the lecture (private collection). For Turner’s discussion of reflecting spheres in Lecture 5, and its possible influence on his friend John Soane, see notes to D17147.
Thomas Coolsen cites this reflecting globe in relation to Turner’s depictions of bubbles and globes in pictures painted in the 1830s, and his interest in theories of prismatic colour.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 O folios 8 verso–11 verso. For an earlier version of this material, see BL MS H folios 10–14.
Davies 1994, p.265.

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: Reflections in a Transparent Globe 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, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-lecture-diagram-reflections-in-a-transparent-globe-r1136762, accessed 17 January 2018.