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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Lecture Diagram 28: Perspective Method for a Cube (after Jacques Androuet du Cerceau) c.1810

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lecture Diagram 28: Perspective Method for a Cube (after Jacques Androuet du Cerceau) circa 1810
D17042
Turner Bequest CXCV 72
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 672 x 999 mm
Watermarked ‘J WHATMAN | 1808’
Inscribed by Turner in red watercolour ‘28’ top left, ‘ANDROVET | 1576’ bottom left and in red and black watercolour with letters ‘V’, ‘H’, ‘V’, ‘VL’, ‘VL’, ‘E’, ‘VL’, ‘VL’ and ‘B’ within diagram
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘72’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
For Turner’s survey of historical methods for drawing a cube in perspective, in Lecture 2 as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, see notes to Diagram 27 (Tate D17041; Turner Bequest CXCV 71). Following that example, drawn from Jean Pélerin (‘Viator’), Turner presented Diagram 28, illustrating one published by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau (1515–1585), a French architect and engraver who produced handbooks for artists on the Italian Renaissance style. Turner’s diagram is a loose adaptation of a series of engravings from du Cerceau’s Leçons de perspective positive (1576, leçon IIII [sic] and V). Maurice Davies explains that Turner ‘omits many matters of detail’ in his description of du Cerceau’s method’.1 Some time after 1817, Turner revisited du Cerceau’s treatise in order to add information to his survey.2 See Tate D16972; Turner Bequest CXCV 3) for a later diagram illustrating another method for a cube by du Cerceau.
1
Davies 1994, p.90; see Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 F folio 2 verso and M folios 2 verso–3.
2
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 AA folios 7 and verso.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is Double Elephant size Whatman paper made by William Balston, at Springfield Mill, Maidstone, Kent. The largest group within the perspective drawings, this batch of paper shows a ‘grid-like series of shadows that can be seen within the sheet in transmitted light. This appears to have been caused by a trial method of supporting the woven wire mould cover on the mould’. Because this is the only batch he has seen with such a feature, Bower believes that ‘it may have been tried on one pair of moulds and for some reason never tried again’. He also writes that it is ‘not the best Whatman paper by any means; the weight of this group is also very variable and the moulds have not been kept clean during use’.1
1
Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Verso:
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘74’ bottom left.

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

How to cite

Andrea Fredericksen, ‘Lecture Diagram 28: Perspective Method for a Cube (after Jacques Androuet du Cerceau) c.1810 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, June 2004, revised by David Blayney Brown, 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-lecture-diagram-28-perspective-method-for-a-cube-after-r1136494, accessed 19 May 2022.