Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram 13: Objects Above, Level with and Below the Eye (after Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo and Joseph Moxon)


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink and watercolour on paper
Support: 480 × 600 mm
Mount: 593 × 710 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCV 57

Catalogue entry

This diagram is likely to be associated with Turner’s discussion, in Lecture 2 as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, of the terminology of the discipline. It is based on an illustration from Richard Haydocke’s translation of Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo’s A Tracte Containing the Artes of Curious Paintinge, Carvinge and Buildinge (1598, book V, p.204). It illustrates the terms Lomazzo assigned to the three main viewpoints: ‘from below the seen objects (anoptica), on a level with them (ottica) and from above (catoptica)’.1 Maurice Davies observes that although the diagram bears the heading ‘Lamatius and Moxon’ neither the terms nor the diagram can be found in Joseph Moxon’s Practical Perspective (1670).2 Turner’s description of the method is based on the elder Thomas Malton’s A Compleat Treatise on Perspective in Theory and Practice on the True Principles of Dr Brook Taylor (1775).3 Turner drew a similar diagram in his Perspective Sketchbook (Tate D07457; Turner Bequest CVIII 60 verso).
Martin Kemp, The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat, New Haven and London 1996, pp.83–4.
Davies 1994, p.297 note 16.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 L folio 2. For earlier versions of material, see D folio 2 verso and E folio 5.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Royal size Whatman paper made by William Balston and Finch and Thomas Robert Hollingworth, at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. He writes that ‘all the group of papers with 1794 dates in the watermark show considerable process dirt and poor formation’. He attributes a lack of quality control to James Whatman’s stroke and the change of ownership at the mill.1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘59’ bottom left.

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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