Joseph Mallord William Turner

?A Curtained Bed, with a Naked Man and Woman Reclining

c.1834–6

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 79 x 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28894
Turner Bequest CCXCI c 16

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the exact juxtaposition of what appear to be two naked figures (probably in the dark interior of a curtained bed) is difficult to make out, as the white spaces left by the initial washes have been articulated by a somewhat feverish flurry of pencil work. The clearest forms seem to indicate bare legs with the knees drawn up and parted, and there is an impression of a crouching or crawling figure on the left.
For a discussion of the improvisatory and often erotic nature of the watercolour studies making up most of this sketchbook, see the Introduction.
The unaccessioned, blank recto is numbered in red ink ‘16’ and stamped ‘CCXCI(c) – 16’.

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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