Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Studies of a Man’s Head, Seen in Profile to the Left

c.1799–1802

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Ink and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 210 x 135 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04151
Turner Bequest LXIX 131 a

Catalogue entry

These sketches may be imaginary heads, but it seems likely that they were drawn from a particular individual; a possible candidate is the artist Joseph Farington (1747–1821), with whom Turner had much to do while he was canvassing for his election first as an Associate of the Academy in 1799 and later as full Academician in 1802. His bald pate, beaky nose and determined mouth are captured in the profile portrait of him included in the 1795 painting by Henry Singleton (1766–1839) of The Royal Academicians in General Assembly (Royal Academy of Arts, London). It is a question whether either of these studies is to any extent a caricature.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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