Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Curtained Bed, with Naked Figures ?Engaged in Sexual Activity

c.1834–6

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

Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 79 x 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28888
Turner Bequest CCXCI c 13

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the pale torso and thigh of a figure lit from above appear to be indicated on the diagonal across the centre, while the presence of a raised knee beyond is the clearest indication of the corresponding reclining figure below as they embrace in the darkness of a curtained bed.
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 recto is numbered in red ink ‘13’ and stamped ‘CCXCI(c) – 13’; it is otherwise blank apart from slight watercolour offsetting from folio 12 verso (D28886).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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