This is one of several life studies in this sketchbook, probably made in the Royal Academy life classes; see also the verso and folios 6 and 7 (D10419–D10422) which have studies of the same figure and pose from other angles.
Turner was an Annual Visitor (instructor) in the Life Academy in various years. He served in 1813, the year that this sketchbook is watermarked, and again in 1822, 1823, 1825, 1830, 1831, 1834, 1835 and 1837. Figures in this sketchbook may have been drawn to inform The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire (Tate N00499) of 18171 given the presence of other sketches and verse (see Introduction).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed. 1984, pp.100–1 no.135 (pl.137).