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This drawing has generally been accepted as a portrait of Turner’s mother. It may be compared with a somewhat similar profile sketch in pencil and watercolour, now in a private collection,1 also known as ‘Turner’s mother’, but perhaps more plausibly a male portrait, conceivably Mr John Narraway of Bristol, and dating from about 1791–2. There is no strong evidence for believing the traditional identifications of these portrait studies; like the old woman in the watercolour exhibited in 1796, Internal of a Cottage, a Study at Ely (Tate D00729; Turner Bequest XXIX X),2 also at one time thought to be the artist’s mother, the model is more likely to have been observed by Turner on his travels.
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British School 18th century, formerly attributed to Joseph Mallord William Turner Schematic Studies of a Head