Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Notes on Architectural Proportion and Perspective, from an Unidentified Source


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 37

Catalogue entry

The whole page is taken up with the following notes:
The incoherence of the adoption may be classed as | to transposition alone for the egg and tong or anther | moulding is here the smallest whereas, in the Ionian | it has large parts, indeed it is rather difficult to [?rue] | [?rule] the introduction of it here so small for then | all proportions near it which reduced the the [sic] egg to | a wrens to acccomodate the Eminent leaf below and | the Anther becomes a Dart, but the general form or | lack of line as seen from the ground must give that | sentiment of growing ambition the characters of | the Trajan triumph. that the mind receives no check | in contemplation the rush of war and floats with | the spiral line to the capitial if the sculptor had been | as carefull as the architect to [...] the character he | would surely have atended to the proportions of the
The source of these passages on proportion in relation to architecture (including the Trajan and Antonine Columns in Rome) remains unidentified.1 Trajan’s Column also features in Turner’s notes on folios 34 recto, 35 recto, 35 verso, 36 verso, 37 verso and 61 verso (D07409, D07411, D07412, D07414, D07416, D07459); see also the entry for folio 33 verso (D07408). The present notes run continuously from folio 35 recto to folio 37 verso (D07411–D07416).

Matthew Imms
June 2008

Davies 1994, p.288.

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