Joseph Mallord William Turner

Diagram of a Cube in Perspective, after Andrea Pozzo


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 87 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXIV 14

Catalogue entry

Maurice Davies has identified the source as notes on the history of perspective in Joshua Kirby’s Dr Brook Taylor’s Method of Perspective Made Easy Both in Theory and Practice: see the 1754 Ipswich edition, Book II, pp.81–4,1 and the 1768 London edition, Book II, pp.88–92.2 There are other notes from the same source on folios 11 verso, 12 recto opposite, 13 verso and 14 verso (D07975, D07976, D07979, D07981).
Andrea Pozzo (1642–1709) was an Italian painter, architect and stage designer, and the author of Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum (1693–1700), published in English in 1707. Turner’s immediate source was Kirby, with Pozzo’s diagram shown in the 1768 edition as Book II, pl.XIX, fig.6, although Turner omitted the ground plan, noting in an early draft that ‘Andrea Pozzo is like [Vignola] by an elevation, without a ground plan, by transferring of Vignola’s method.’3 For Vignola, see folio 13 verso opposite (D07979).
As Andrea Fredericksen notes in her catalogue entry, Turner’s lecture diagram 34 for his third Royal Academy perspective lecture (Tate D17048; Turner Bequest CXCV 78) is based on Pozzo; as Davies observes, the omission of the ground plan from the present sketch caused Turner to make an error in the preliminary draft quoted above,4 which he corrected for the lecture itself,5 subsequently adding new material on Pozzo with an additional diagram (Tate D16984; Turner Bequest CXCV 15),6 relating more directly to the present study.
For the dating of these and other notes made prior to Turner’s 1811 Royal Academy perspective lectures see the Introduction to the sketchbook.

Matthew Imms
January 2012

Davies 1994, p.306 note 3.
Ibid., p.290.
Ibid., pp.97, 310 note 75.
Ibid. p.97; Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 A folio 18.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, ADD MS 46151 M folio 6 verso; see also F folio 4.
Ibid., ADD MS 46151 AA folios 14, 15.

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