Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Sketch Copy of Rubens’s Portrait of ?Susanna Lunden (‘Le Chapeau de Paille’); a Stooping Man


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 162 × 98 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCV 44

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, at the top is a swift study of a stooping man, perhaps a sailor or docker whose ‘red sleeves’ caught Turner’s attention in the vicinity of Old London Bridge, the focus of many sketches in this book; see the Introduction.
The bridge studies appear to date from 1824, and the man was probably preceded on this page by the more elaborate drawing below, which also includes extensive colour notes.1 As Finberg recognised, it shows the painting known as Le Chapeau de Paille (the straw hat) of about 1622–5, by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640),2 now in the National Gallery, London. The hat is not straw; perhaps owing to an English misunderstanding, ‘paille’ may have been a mistake for ‘poil’, meaning felt. The sitter is probably Rubens’s sister-in-law, Susanna Lunden, née Fourment.3 Turner presumably copied it when it was shown in London from March to April or June 1823,4 at George Stanley’s Rooms in Bond Street; it was subsequently acquired by the future Prime Minister, (Sir) Robert Peel.5
Ten years later, Turner would copy Rubens’s candid portrait of his wife Hélène Fourment in a Fur Wrap (‘Het Pelsken’) in the Imperial Picture Gallery at Vienna (now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum), inside the front cover of the Vienna up to Venice sketchbook (Tate D41262; Turner Bequest CCCXI).6
On folio 1 recto (D17834) is Turner’s sketch of Benjamin Robert Haydon’s large painting of The Raising of Lazarus, also exhibited in London in the spring of 1823.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

See Townsend 1992, p.9.
See Fred Bachrach, ‘Rubens, Peter Paul (1577–1640)’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p.273.
See the online entry at The National Gallery, accessed 9 December 2014,
See Finberg 1961, p.281, Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.97, ‘Biographie’ for 1823 in Gage, Ziff, Alfrey and others 1983, p.313, Gage 1987, p.239 (calling Turner’s sketch ‘surreptitious’) and Wilton 1987, p.235, all limiting the display to March and April 1823.
See Warrell 1991, p.41, giving the later closing date, and see also Warrell 2009, pp.54, 230 note 3; the picture was recalled as being on display for ‘four months’ from March 1823 by its then owner, the art dealer John Smith, in his A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works Of The Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters, vol. II, London 1830, p.230.
See Gage 1969, p.239 note 42, acknowledging information from Hardy George, and Warrell 2009, pp.54, 230 note 3.

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