Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Women with a Letter c.1830

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Artwork details

Title
Two Women with a Letter
Date c.1830
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1219 x 914 mm
frame: 1430 x 1112 x 80 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
N05501

Display caption

Here, Turner seems to be working towards a romantic or literary subject akin to his Shakespearean Jessica which was exhibited in 1830 and is exactly the same size. Both works are in a style indebted to Rembrandt, and Turner could also have been exploring parallels with exotic women painted by Rembrandt. Moreover the narrative being developed here, seemingly of a letter concealed by one woman from another, may have been associated with that of his earlier Rembrandt's Daughter, in which the painter interrupts his daughter while she is reading a love letter.

August 2004

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