Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Curtained Bed, with a Naked Woman or Couple Reclining


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

Watercolour on paper
Support: 79 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI c 35

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, within the darkness of a curtained bed there appears to be the pale form of a woman reclining, but the shapes are ambiguous enough to suggest that she may be in the embraces of a companion, although this is open to interpretation.
For a discussion of the improvisatory and often erotic nature of the watercolour studies making up most of this sketchbook, see the Introduction.
Technical notes:
The unaccessioned, blank recto is numbered in red ink ‘35’ and stamped ‘CCXCI(c) – 35’; it bears slight watercolour offsetting from folio 34 verso (D28930). There is some offsetting from the present page near the gutter and at the top right of the unaccessioned recto of folio 36 opposite (its verso being D28934).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

Read full Catalogue entry