Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Curtained Bed, with a Stooping Man ?Looking at a Naked Woman


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 79 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI c 32

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the setting is a curtained bed, beside which a man is shown in silhouette, bending forwards with his hands on his knees. Within the shadowy bed there are pale forms which seem to indicate a naked woman; unless the marks are fortuitous, her head seems to be articulated by tiny dark dots for eyes, suggesting that she is returning the man’s gaze; compare the apparently voyeuristic subject on folio 37 verso (D28936).
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 ‘32’ and stamped ‘CCXCI(c) – 32’. There is some offsetting from the present page to the unaccessioned recto of folio 33 opposite (its verso being D28928).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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