Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Reclining Nude Woman with her Legs Drawn Up

c.1833

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Chalk, gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 100 x 142 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D33944
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 232

Catalogue entry

Ian Warrell has linked Tate D33942–D33945 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 231, 231v, 232, 232v) as ‘Studies of a female nude on grey paper’, connecting them to similar small, divided-up sheets used in Austria in 1833. He compares the use of red and white chalks to the technique of a sequence of studies of a male nude in the Life Class (2) sketchbook of the later 1830s1 (Tate D27482–D27513; Turner Bequest CCLXXIX b 2–33).
See also the figure studies in chalks on pages washed in grey in the Whalers sketchbook of about 1845 (Tate D35256–D35258; Turner Bequest CCCLIII 17, 18, 19), particularly D35256.
This is the most overtly erotic of the four studies noted initially. Warrell describes the ‘blushing pink tone of female flesh ... created with a smear of gouache. Turner’s viewpoint ... is especially lewd, giving emphasis to the darkness of the woman’s vagina’.2 The hazy white marks around the figure suggest bedclothes; compare the treatment of the figure in Tate D32236 (Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 17), a bedroom scene associated with Turner’s time in Venice in 1840.3
Finberg’s 1909 Inventory is unclear at this point, listing only ‘232. A female figure. Red and white chalk’.4 The present work is stamped ‘CCCXLI – 232a’, while a second sheet (D33945) is stamped ‘CCCXLI – 232 b’, albeit numbered in Tate’s database system as CCCXLI 232v.
1
Warrell 2003, p.25.
2
Ibid.
3
See ibid., p.26.
4
Finberg 1909, II, p.1075.
Verso:
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘cccxli – 232a’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

Read full Catalogue entry

Explore

You might like