Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram: ‘Euclid’s Elements of Geometry’, Book 11, Propositions 1 and 3


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 584 × 871 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCV 48

Catalogue entry

Prepared in connection with his lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, Turner’s diagram is based on an illustration from Samuel Cunn’s Euclid’s Elements of Geometry (London 1759, Book 11, Plate 1). It illustrates Propositions 1 and 3 from Book 11. The left figure represents Proposition 1: ‘Theorem. One part of a right line cannot be in a plane superficies, and another part above it’, while the right corresponds to Proposition 3: ‘Theorem. If two planes cut each other, their common section will be a right line’.1 There are pencil sketches of both Propositions in Turner’s lecture text.2
Cunn 1759, pp.193–4.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 V folios 32, 32 verso and W folio 7.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Colombier size Whatman paper made by William Balston, at Springfield Mill, Maidstone, Kent.1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘9’ 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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