Joseph Mallord William Turner

Diagrams of a Cube in Perspective and a Pantograph, from an Unidentified Source

c.1809

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Pen and ink on paper
Dimensions
Support: 88 x 115 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D07471
Turner Bequest CVIII 71

Catalogue entry

Maurice Davies has not identified the source of the main diagram, which does not appear in Christoph Scheiner, Pantographice, seu ars delineandi, Rome 1631,1 the first edition of which Turner could have consulted at the British Museum (since transferred to the British Library, London), where no later editions are listed.
A mathematician and astronomer, Scheiner (1573–1650)2 devised a form of pantograph (a pivoting trellis-like framework allowing the duplication or enlargement of an image through a parallel tracing process using simple geometrical relationships); the rough, smaller diagram on the present page appears to show the instrument.

Matthew Imms
June 2008

1
Davies 1994, pp.98, 289, 310 note 78.
2
See Albert Van Helden, ‘Christoph Scheiner (1573–1650)’, and Richard S. Westfall, ‘Scheiner, Christoph’, The Galileo Project, accessed 28 May 2008, respectively http://galileo.rice.edu/sci/scheiner.html and http://galileo.rice.edu/Catalog/NewFiles/scheiner.html.

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