Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Partly Draped Standing Figure, Seen from the Back

c.1833

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 180 x 154 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D33941
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 230

Catalogue entry

Ian Warrell has described this drawing, Tate D33939, D33940 and D33969 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 228, 229, 254) as ‘Four pencil studies of models’, dating them to about 1833, when Turner visited central Europe and Venice, both on the basis of the paper being similar to sheets used then for topographical views; he also observes that the arrangement of the model’s hair ‘recalls the Italian fashions’ of that period.1
It seems likely that the other three studies show the same woman, although it is unclear whether this figure is her again, or even (if less likely) a man, the torso apparently being obscured by a loose shirt. The garment may be in the process of being put on or taken off; there is a sense of movement in the blurring and rubbing around the head. Warrell has noted that the ‘slightly phallic doodle’ on the right is ‘possible confirmation that the subject is male (unless this is meant to represent an onlooker)’.2
1
Warrell 2003, p.25.
2
Ibid.
Technical notes:
Finberg described the media as ‘Pencil and white chalk’,1 although the latter is not now evident. The sheet was once folded horizontally.
1
Finberg 1909, II, p.1075.
Verso:
Blank; slight staining, possibly water damage from the 1928 Tate Gallery flood. Inscribed in pencil ‘230’ bottom left, descending vertically.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

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