Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram 65: Interior of a Prison


On loan

Museum of Art Pudong (Shanghai, China): Pudong

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 487 × 687 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCV 120

Display caption

This drawing is one of a series which Turner made to illustrate the lectures he delivered as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, a post held between 1807 and 1828. The influence of Piranesi's etchings is at its most pronounced here. The Italian printmaker's fantastical images of the imposing architecture of ancient Rome became very popular in Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century, and Turner had been engaged to copy some examples during the mid-1790s. In a particularly remarkable series,'I Carceri' (The Prisons), Piranesi grimly depicted the interiors of imaginary prisons. Here Turner adapted this Sublime genre to demonstrate the behaviour of shadows to his audience.

Gallery label, September 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop