Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Curtained Bed, with a Naked Woman Reclining, Possibly with a Companion


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour, graphite and ink on paper
Support: 77 × 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI b 44 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, a naked woman reclines in a curtained bed. Although parts of this study are clearly defined and emphasised with line over the initial washes, there is still ambiguity, as the woman’s head is less defined in the shadows; there also appears to be another head drawn in profile, resting against or kissing her torso.1
For a discussion of the improvisatory and often erotic nature of the watercolour studies making up most of this sketchbook, see the Introduction.
This is the only page in the present sketchbook reproduced in the catalogue for contemporary artist Tracey Emin’s 2012 Margate exhibition, but Tate records indicate that the nude study on folio 54 verso (D28869; Turner Bequest CCXCI b 54) was the one exhibited among comparative works by other artists on that occasion.

Matthew Imms
May 2014

See Warrell 2003, p.28.

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