Joseph Mallord William Turner

An Interior with a Curtained Bed

1845

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 86 x 111 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35625
Turner Bequest CCCLXI 78 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation is a scene described succinctly by Maurice Guillaud: ‘a bed (the bed of the inn?) with its pillow and curtains isolating it. A hat has been put (flung?) upside down.’1 The scene may evoke repose, the more energetic activities behind the bed curtains in the small sketchbooks of about a decade earlier (see the ‘Erotica and improvisations c.1834–6’ section of the present catalogue) or even, on this last of Turner’s Continental tours, a recollection of the disarray of a bedroom (pillows, hats and all) on his first, in the 1802 Swiss Figures book (Tate D04798; Turner Bequest LXXVIII 1).
The possibility of the two extremes for the artist at seventy are encapsulated by his note of the French for ‘bedwarmer’ on folio 29 verso (D35538) as against the explicit sketches on folios 2 recto and 5 recto (D35489, D35495).
The specific date, 11 September 1845, occurs again on folio 1 recto (D35487);2 for its significance to the sketchbook as a whole, see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

1
Guillaud 1981, p.563.
2
See Brown 1987, p.14.

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