Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram 8/9: The Screen of Carlton House, Pall Mall, London


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink and graphite on paper
Support: 642 × 980 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCV 172

Catalogue entry

Carlton House (demolished 1827) in Pall Mall was the London residence of George IV. He was granted the property as Prince of Wales in 1783 and occupied it as Regent and then as King for forty-two years. The site is now occupied by Waterloo Place and the Institute of Directors (formerly the United Services Club) and Athenaeum Club on either side. The screen, designed by Henry Holland, fronted Pall Mall and allowed views of the north front and portico of Carlton House; it was composed of paired Ionic columns resting on a podium, broken by two pedimented entrances.
In a version of Lecture 1 delivered after 1811 as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, Turner compares a ‘screen of Carlton House in lines’ to another drawing of the same building ‘geometrically drawn but shadowed’ (Tate D17119; Turner Bequest CXCV 148).11 According to Turner, straightforward geometric elevations fail to explain the relationships between parts, and the present example of Carlton House shows how ‘perspective lines only’ reduce the main building behind the screen ‘to insignificance’. While the alternative, shaded view may allow the viewer to better understand the distance between the various structures, shadows and tones create problems of their own by making certain parts appear too bulky.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 J folio 14 verso. See also draft material in MS C folio 12, 12 verso and the 1811 lecture recorded in K folio 15–16.
Indications of transfer process (see Tate D17119) and an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘166’ bottom left.

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

Read full Catalogue entry

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