Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram: Ground Plan of a Building


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 600 × 482 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCV 54

Catalogue entry

Made in connection with Turner’s lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, this ground plan of an unidentified building appears to be related to another (Tate D17023; Turner Bequest CXCV 53). These diagrams are marked ‘No 1’ and ‘N 2’, and may be related to a one depicting a vaulted arch in perspective and marked ‘No 3’ (Tate D17120; Turner Bequest CXCV 149), which Judy Egerton has linked to an earlier diagram of a prison interior based on an etching by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (Tate D17099; Turner Bequest CXCV 128; see also Tate D17090, D17091; Turner Bequest CXCV 120, 121).1 If this is the case, the first two diagrams in the later series may be plans of the prison and all three might have supplemented lecture material on the production of shadows.2
Judy Egerton [and Clifford Ellis], ‘JMWT PP’: A Selection of Drawings Made by Turner to Illustrate his Royal Academy Lectures as Professor of Perspective, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1980, p.[5] under no.20.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 BL MS BB folio 12 verso.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower (unpublished notes)1 writes that the sheet is royal size Whatman paper made by William Balston and Finch and Thomas Robert Hollingworth, at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. Bower notes that ‘all of the group of papers with 1794 dates in the watermark show considerable process of dirt and poor formation. Perhaps this lack of quality control at Turkey Mill was the result of the disruption caused by James Whatman’s stroke and the change of ownership at the mill’. He also writes that the paper used for this diagram ‘can be identified as having made on the same mould as [Diagram 13]’ (Tate D17027; Turner Bequest CXCV 57).
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Blank, save for inscriptions by unknown hands in pencil ‘11 of Diagram’ and ‘1 of [...]’ centre and ‘54’ bottom right.

Andrea Fredericksen
January 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

Read full Catalogue entry

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