Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Dark Interior, with a Figure or Figures


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 77 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI b 33

Catalogue entry

This composition appears to show a dark interior with a pale curtain at the left and a dark door or screen receding at the right, where there may be at least one figure. Although more heavily worked subsequently, the initial washes appear to have been offset to or from folio 34 recto opposite (D28834). Raphael Rosenberg has given this as an example of Klecksography, or drawings generated by random smudging, in this case starting from a sort of proto-Rorschach mirror image1 (see the overall Introduction to the present grouping).
For a wider discussion of the improvisatory and often erotic nature of the watercolour studies making up most of this sketchbook, see elsewhere in the Introduction.
The unaccessioned recto is inscribed in red ink ‘33’ and stamped ‘CCXCI(b) – 33’, and is blank save for slight offsetting of adventitious watercolour to or from folio 32 verso (itself unaccessioned, its recto being D28831).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

See Rosenberg 2007, pp.126–7, 328 note 52.

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