Joseph Mallord William Turner

?A Dark Interior or Curtained Bed, with a Figure or Figures


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 77 × 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI b 31

Catalogue entry

There seems to be a dark interior or curtained bed here, with a pale figure or figures reclining towards the right, but the composition is hardly developed beyond the original washes, which effectively form a reversed image on folio 32 recto opposite (D28831), one page showing the offset of the other. Raphael Rosenberg has given this as an example of Klecksography, or drawings generated by random smudging, starting from a sort of proto-Rorschach mirror image, in this case reading both pages as images of figures reclining on their elbows1 (see the overall Introduction to the present grouping).
For a wider discussion of the improvisatory and often erotic nature of the watercolour studies making up most of this sketchbook, see elsewhere in the Introduction.
The unaccessioned recto is inscribed in red ink ‘31’ and stamped ‘CCXCI(b) – 31’, and is blank save for slight offsetting of adventitious watercolour to or from folio 30 verso (itself unaccessioned, its recto being D28828).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

See Rosenberg 2007, pp.126–7, 328 note 52.

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