Joseph Mallord William TurnerSheet of Studies: An Old Bearded Man Seen in Profile with a Boy Reaching Past him, Holding a Hat c.1796-7

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Sheet of Studies: An Old Bearded Man Seen in Profile with a Boy Reaching Past him, Holding a Hat
Date c.1796-7
MediumChalk and watercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 344 x 242 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00720
Turner Bequest XXIX O
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Sheet of Studies: An Old Bearded Man Seen in Profile with a Boy Reaching Past him, Holding a Hat c.1796–7
D00720
Turner Bequest XXIX O
Black chalk, pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 344 x 242 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘WT’ at right, and with brush and grey colour ‘WT’ [monogram] lower right
Stamped in black ‘XXIX O’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Chumbley and Warrell plausibly suggest that this sheet was executed during Turner’s time at the Academy Life Class; see also Tate D00719, D00721 and D00723 (Turner Bequest XXIX N, P, and R). They also propose that the boy’s face is a self-portrait. This is borne out by the presence on the sheet of a study in pencil of an eye and a nose, very possibly related to the head of the boy and likely to have been drawn in a mirror. Wilton notes that the composition, with the boy reaching forward towards the picture plane past another figure, anticipates that of the unfinished canvas Two Women with a Letter (Tate N05501),1 probably of about 1830. The monogram appears to be more than a mere exercise in calligraphy, and is apparently intended as a signature to the drawing.
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.282 no.448, pl.449 (colour).
Verso:
Blank

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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