Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Partly Draped Seated Woman, Turned Away


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 159 x 151 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 228

Catalogue entry

Ian Warrell has described this drawing, Tate D33940, D33941 and D33969 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 229, 230, 254) as ‘Four pencil studies of models’, dating them to about 1833, when Turner visited central Europe and Venice, on the basis of the paper being similar to sheets used then for topographical views; he also observes that the arrangement of the model’s hair ‘recalls the Italian fashions’ of that period.1
It seems likely that three of them show the same woman, although it is unclear whether the figure seen from the back in D33941 is male or female. Here the woman’s face is turned away in shaded lost profile, with what seems to be a detail of the line of her cheekbone and chin on the same scale to the left. The significance of the horizontal line and looping strokes beyond is unclear; they may be a loose representation of aspects of an interior or bed.
Warrell 2003, p.25.
Technical notes:
Finberg described the media as ‘Pencil and white chalk’,1 although the latter is not now evident. The sheet was once folded horizontally.
Finberg 1909, II, p.1075.
Blank; slight staining, possibly water damage from the 1928 Tate Gallery flood. Inscribed in pencil ‘228’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

Read full Catalogue entry


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