Thomas Woolner Turner’s Death Mask 1851

Artwork details

Thomas Woolner 1825–1892
Turner’s Death Mask
Date 1851
Medium Plaster
Dimensions Unconfirmed: 254 x 178 x 206 mm
Lent by the National Portrait Gallery, London 1993
On long term loan
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

One way to honour greatness during the nineteenth century was to take a plaster cast of the face after death. Turner’s mask is attributed to the Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner, a great admirer and collector of the older artist’s works. Woolner often used death masks as the basis for portrait busts of his subjects and he probably intended to create a posthumous tribute to Turner. He did the same for a number of other Victorian luminaries, including the writer, Charles Dickens.

February 2010

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