Joseph Mallord William Turner

Diagram of an Open Cube in Perspective, after Heinrich Lautensack


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 115 x 88 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVIII 69

Catalogue entry

Maurice Davies has identified the source of this sketch and the one on folio 68 verso opposite (D07468) as Heinrich Lautensack, Des Circkels unt Richtscheyts, auch der Perspectiva, Frankfurt 1564, ‘pp 13, 18’.1
The present diagram is from the top half of plate 20 on folio 18 recto, showing an open cube-frame on a shallow plinth, drawn in outline alone with the diagonals on all six faces indicated by dotted lines, as copied here rather perfunctorily. Lautensack repeats the forms immediately below, this time shown solid with shadows cast by a light source above.
Turner’s inscription translates Lautensack’s occupations, ‘Goldschmid und Maler’, from the title page, and renders the publication date half in Arabic and half in Roman numerals.
This is one of several diagrams of cubes which Turner noted in the Perspective sketchbook but did not use in his lectures.2 There is another diagram from Lautensack, which Turner probably consulted at the British Museum (since transferred to the British Library, London), on folio 45 recto (D07431).

Matthew Imms
June 2008

Davies 1994, p.289.
Ibid., pp.98, 289, 310 note 76

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