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This is one of the published plates of the Liber Studiorum, a series of prints that Turner produced between 1807 and the early 1820s. The image was first etched in outline by Turner himself, and the gradations of light and shade were then introduced in mezzotint, in this case by William Say. The title Solitude is not Turner's own. His only reference to the subject suggests that he may have wanted to link the reclining woman with Mary Magdalene, although he places her not in a Biblical landscape but in an unlikely Arcadian setting.

August 2004