Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study of Female Nude and Hogarth’s ‘Line of Grace’

c.1830–1

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

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 94 x 74 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25529
Turner Bequest CCLXIV 3 a

Catalogue entry

This study of a nude female figure, one of three near the beginning of the sketchbook (see folios 1verso and 2 verso; D25525, D25527), demonstrates Turner’s interest in art theory. As Finberg has noted, the serpentine line to the right of the figure demonstrates Hogarth’s ‘Line of Grace’.1 Turner has either identified the existence of the line in the pose of the figure, or has placed the figure in a pose that follows the line. Ann Chumbley and Ian Warrell have suggested that Turner may have carried out this exercise in preparation for his role as Visitor to the Royal Academy Schools where he supervised the life drawing class in 1830 and 1831.2

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

1
Finberg 1909, vol.II, p.847, CCLXIV 3a.
2
Ann Chumbley and Ian Warrell, Turner and the Human Figure: Studies of Contemporary Life, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1989, p.14.

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