J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Diagram of a Cube in Perspective, after Andrea Pozzo 1809

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Recto:
Diagram of a Cube in Perspective, after Andrea Pozzo 1809
Turner Bequest CXIV 14
Pencil on white wove paper, 87 x 117 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Pozzo’ top centre
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘14’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXIV – 14’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Maurice Davies has identified the source as notes on the history of perspective in Joshua Kirby’s Dr Brook Taylor’s Method of Perspective Made Easy Both in Theory and Practice: see the 1754 Ipswich edition, Book II, pp.81–4,1 and the 1768 London edition, Book II, pp.88–92.2 There are other notes from the same source on folios 11 verso, 12 recto opposite, 13 verso and 14 verso (D07975, D07976, D07979, D07981).
Andrea Pozzo (1642–1709) was an Italian painter, architect and stage designer, and the author of Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum (1693–1700), published in English in 1707. Turner’s immediate source was Kirby, with Pozzo’s diagram shown in the 1768 edition as Book II, pl.XIX, fig.6, although Turner omitted the ground plan, noting in an early draft that ‘Andrea Pozzo is like [Vignola] by an elevation, without a ground plan, by transferring of Vignola’s method.’3 For Vignola, see folio 13 verso opposite (D07979).
As Andrea Fredericksen notes in her catalogue entry, Turner’s lecture diagram 34 for his third Royal Academy perspective lecture (Tate D17048; Turner Bequest CXCV 78) is based on Pozzo; as Davies observes, the omission of the ground plan from the present sketch caused Turner to make an error in the preliminary draft quoted above,4 which he corrected for the lecture itself,5 subsequently adding new material on Pozzo with an additional diagram (Tate D16984; Turner Bequest CXCV 15),6 relating more directly to the present study.
For the dating of these and other notes made prior to Turner’s 1811 Royal Academy perspective lectures see the Introduction to the sketchbook.

Matthew Imms
January 2012

Davies 1994, p.306 note 3.
Ibid., p.290.
Ibid., pp.97, 310 note 75.
Ibid. p.97; Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 A folio 18.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, ADD MS 46151 M folio 6 verso; see also F folio 4.
Ibid., ADD MS 46151 AA folios 14, 15.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Diagram of a Cube in Perspective, after Andrea Pozzo 1809 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-diagram-of-a-cube-in-perspective-after-andrea-pozzo-r1134756, accessed 27 January 2022.