Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Reclining Nude Woman, Seen from Behind


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk on paper
Support: 99 × 143 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 232v

Catalogue entry

Ian Warrell has linked Tate D33942–D33945 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 231, 231v, 232, 232v) as ‘Studies of a female nude on grey paper’, connecting them to similar small, divided-up sheets used in Austria in 1833. He compares the use of red and white chalks to the technique of a sequence of studies of a male nude in the Life Class (2) sketchbook of the later 1830s1 (Tate D27482–D27513; Turner Bequest CCLXXIX b 2–33).
See also the figure studies in chalks on pages washed in grey in the Whalers sketchbook of about 1845 (Tate D35256–D35258; Turner Bequest CCCLIII 17, 18, 19), particularly D35256.
The present work is the slightest of the four mentioned initially. The main figure, largely defined by white chalk outlines, is seen from the back, in a semi-reclining posture apparently supported by the left arm, while scratchy red lines towards the top right may indicate another torso.

Finberg’s 1909 Turner Bequest Inventory is unclear at this point, listing only ‘232. A female figure. Red and white chalk’.2 The present work is stamped ‘CCCXLI – 232b’, albeit numbered CCCXLI 232v in Tate’s database system, while a second sheet (D33944) is stamped ‘CCCXLI – 232 a’.
Warrell 2003, p.25.
Finberg 1909, II, p.1075.
Technical notes:
Ian Warrell has noted that the right-hand torn edge here matches the left-hand edge of D33942.1
Warrell 2003, p.25.
Blank; scattered staining. Inscribed in pencil ‘232 (b)’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

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