Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Biographical Notes on Artists, from Matthew Pilkington


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 88 × 115 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVIII 27 a

Catalogue entry

Almost the whole page is taken up with the following notes:
Paolo <Ucello> Uccello or Mazzochi | born at Florence 1349 disciple of Antonio Venetiano | He invented Perspective and spend so much time | in poverty in consequence, by the labour untill he | found out the method of reducing it to practice | that he study Euclid and was assisted by | Giovanni Manetti and [sic] eminent mathematician
Hubert Van Eyck with John V Eyck the inventor | of Oil in 1410
Maurice Davies notes that Turner mentions Uccello and Jan van Eyck among other artists in his first perspective lecture, and that his source (in the absence of a general English history of artists’ use of perspective), was the Rev. Matthew Pilkington’s Dictionary of Painters, first published in London in 1770.1 Turner probably used the revised 1798 edition, from which the page references below are taken (see entry for folio 47 recto; D07435).
The notes on Uccello derive from pages 695–6, and that on Hubert and Jan van Eyck from the biography of the former on page 209. Davies has identified an earlier page of notes from the same source (folio 5 verso; D07364); there are further notes from Pilkington on folio 47 recto.

Matthew Imms
June 2008

Davies 1992, pp.34, 106 note 20.

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