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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Upper Stages of the Monument, London c.1808-11

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 13 Recto:
The Upper Stages of the Monument, London circa 1808–11
Turner Bequest CXIV 13
Pencil on white wove paper, 117 x 87 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil (see main catalogue entry)
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘13’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CXIV – 13’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The sketch shows part of the Monument, London, with its column’s capital and the prominent entablature which forms the viewing platform below the drum which continues on folio 12 verso opposite (D07977); Turner’s viewpoint is considered in the entry for the latter.
The cornice of the platform is inscribed ‘2’ or ‘12’. At the top left, along a steep line of sight, the inscription ‘Equal [...]’ ascends, and continues for a further word on the opposite page. There are further notes at the foot of the page:
20 Feet from Base
17½      7      3 thick            10 
3        12                        15 
               [?P] Base           18 
The first line gives the distance from the base of the Monument from which its upper stages become apparent, as noted again on the opposite page. The significance of the other working calculations, presumably in terms of feet or angles, is unclear.
Maurice Davies relates this and the studies on folios 17 recto, 19 verso, 20 recto, 31 recto and 34 recto (D07985, D07988, D07989, D08002, D08005) to Turner’s first perspective lecture, delivered at the Royal Academy in January 1811 (see the Introduction to the sketchbook); Turner discussed the ‘flaming ball’ surmounting the Monument, and the viewing distance from ground level,1 in relation to his large watercolour diagram ‘4’ showing both the whole structure and the upper stages from below (Tate D17122; Turner Bequest CXCV 151).

Matthew Imms
January 2012

Davies pp.32, 106 note 8; Davies 1994, p.290.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Upper Stages of the Monument, London c.1808–11 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-the-upper-stages-of-the-monument-london-r1134754, accessed 28 January 2022.