Brook Taylor’s Role in the History of Linear Perspective

  • Kirsti Andersen
Part of the Sources in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences book series (SOURCES, volume 10)


In 1715 Brook Taylor published his Linear Perspective: or, a New Method of Representing Justly All Manner of Objects (pp. 71–136). Responding to the criticism that the book was too concise Taylor revised it and in 1719 issued his New Principles of Linear Perspective (pp. 147–243). Although Taylor used the word new in the titles of both books he did not explain what he considered the novelty of his approach to perspective. The titles, however, had the effect that later in the century there came to exist an idea of a particularly Taylorian way of dealing with perspective. Thus the period from 1754 to 1803 witnessed the publication of at least seven English books on perspective with titles mentioning Dr. Brook Taylor’s principles or method of linear perspective, and in the same period other English authors acknowledged that they had been inspired by Taylor. (More details are given in Section 9.) As late as the 1880s, in a textbook on perspective, the headmaster of the School of Art in Manchester, George O. Blacker, stated that Taylor was “the father of all modern Perspective” (Blacker, 1885–1888, Preface).


Ground Plane Picture Plane Direct Construction Perspective Plane Linear Perspective 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

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  • Kirsti Andersen

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