Joseph Mallord William Turner

Perspective Diagrams, after Salomon de Caus


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 88 × 115 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVIII 3

Catalogue entry

Between the two diagrams, with reference to the upper (of a two-storey building), Turner notes: ‘it is [?evident] that by the circle that the upper window must smaller | by the circle, but it does not say how the difference is to be found | Salomon de Cavs 1612’. At the foot of the page is the concluding phrase of the long inscription opposite (folio 2 verso; D07358), relating the origins of ancient art.
Maurice Davies has identified the notes and diagrams on folios 3 recto to 4 verso (this page and D07360–D07362) as taken from Salomon de Caus, La Perspective avec la raison des ombres et miroirs, London 1612 (see also folio 54 verso; D07450), in the present case from the unpaginated folio 5 recto. The same passages are translated from the French in Turner’s perspective lecture manuscripts, though apparently not in his hand.1

Matthew Imms
June 2008

Davies 1994, pp.98, 287, 298 note 23; Davies notes the translations as in Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 BB folios 62 recto, verso.

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