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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
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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