Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Reclining Nude with One Arm Reaching behind her Head


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

Watercolour and graphite on paper
Support: 77 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI b 55

Catalogue entry

A naked woman is shown reclining, brightly lit against billowing forms which appear to suggest a setting of bedclothes and curtains. The studies on folios 53 verso and 54 verso (D28867, D28879) each show the same or a similar pose from a different angle, and they were perhaps made from life on the same occasion (perhaps, as Ian Warrell has suggested, in an academic Life Class),1 as opposed to the many apparently imaginative bedroom figure scenes elsewhere in this book.
For a discussion of the improvisatory and often erotic nature of the watercolour studies making up most of this sketchbook, see the Introduction.
The unaccessioned recto is inscribed in red ink ‘55’ and stamped ‘CCXCI(b) – 55’; it is otherwise blank except for a slight continuation or offsetting of watercolour from folio 54 verso (D28869).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

See Warrell 2003, p.28.

Read full Catalogue entry