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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Inscription by Turner: Notes on Reflected Light c.1809

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 73 Verso:
Inscription by Turner: Notes on Reflected Light circa 1809
Turner Bequest CVIII 73a
Pen and ink on white wove paper, 115 x 88 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The whole page is taken up with the following notes:
[?Define angles] to the eye to the horizontal | of which it is the great [...] so that | cat[...] that diagonal line of vision | would be seen on the water, but this | is a Theoretical, not a [?practical] conclusion | and tho I cannot define what is positively | [?irreglr] to do yet can most [...] only | what appears wrong. The [?apperance is] | that all reflections are equal only to | the object reflected, without defining | [...] distance position of the | diagonal or the square of ray of [?vision] | observation or that which is above | the eye of observation which is to be seen | in a [?reflected] mirror tho [?notable] by the | Eyes and [?that] a [...] | can define the multifarious [?power of]
The passage is part of a sequence of notes and diagrams which runs back from folio 79 verso (D07487) to folio 72 verso (D07473). The previous page of notes is folio 74 verso (D07477); the next and last is folio 72 verso (D07473). The semi-diagrammatic drawing of a boat on folio 81 verso (D07491) also appears to belong with these notes, concerned with sunlight or light in general in terms of reflections and the casting of light and shadow from polished objects or bodies of water. They relate to Turner’s fifth Royal Academy perspective lecture, on reflection and refraction.
Davies has registered most of the notes from folio 91 verso (D07511) to folio 72 verso as ‘on light and shadow’;1 those from folio 91 verso to folio 82 verso (D07493) are distinct, dealing with sunlight as parallel or divergent rays.

Matthew Imms
June 2008

Davies 1994, p.289.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Inscription by Turner: Notes on Reflected Light c.1809 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, June 2008, 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-inscription-by-turner-notes-on-reflected-light-r1136671, accessed 20 April 2021.