Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Notes on Sculptural 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 a

Catalogue entry

The whole page is taken up with the following notes:
the component parts and not made the Romans | storming a town the size of a washing tub and a house | not fit to be a toy, while leaves of tree and rushes are | large enough to support men while the horses however | small the Dacian horse <when> that the man could carry | the horse instead of the Horse the man and in the | Antonine coloumn in the second tier a large | Figure of Fame occours writing [?‘when’ or ‘upon’] her [...] | the acts of her heroes and a little window, to give | the interior light. supports it destroying at [?once] | sentiments by such a mixture of usefullness | and I cannot for a moment conceive the object of | placing Fame in that place had she been placd | upon the pedestal or upon the first of the coloumn | she would record all but the only sentiment that | can be [?straind] for her stituation is that she is | procceeding on up the column to record the atchieve[...] | of Antonine
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 recto and 61 verso (D07409, D07411, D07412, D07414, D07415, D07459); see also the entry for folio 33 verso (D07408). The present notes run continuously from folio 35 recto to the present page (D07411–D07416).

Matthew Imms
June 2008

Davies 1994, p.288.

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