Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Lady in a Black Silk Dress Seated on a Pink Sofa


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXLIV 42

Technique and condition

This work by Turner is a gouache and watercolour sketch on a medium weight, blue wove paper. Titled A Lady in a Black Silk Dress Seated on a Pink Sofa, it is a loose, informal sketch or unfinished work. The watercolour has been applied very fluidly and in some areas the pigments have slightly bled into one another to give very diffused lines. The gouache has been brushed down more dryly and as such creates the definition and detail to the work.

There is some flaking and losses to the lighter gouache colours, notably the creamy yellow on the frame area. It is known that Turner used little or no binder in his use of lead white which means that any pigment with enough lead white blended into it is prone to flaking and losses. Otherwise, this work is in quite good condition, with the pigments retaining a good deal of their vibrancy.

Jo Gracey
June 2001

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