Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Stooping Fisherwoman on a Beach


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and gouache on paper
Support: 134 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLX 102

Catalogue entry

This rapid study shows a woman stooping in a postures similar to those seen in the painting Calais Sands, Low Water, Poissards Collecting Bait, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830 (Bury Art Museum).1 Ann Chumbley and Ian Warrell have observed that the ‘stooping woman may seem ungainly, yet she evokes a sense of the effort required by her task.’2
Compare a slighter drawing, Tate D40106 (the verso of D24627; Turner Bequest CCLIX 62), and more developed gouaches (D24779, D24880; CCLIX 214, CCLX 44), the second of which shows Calais in the background. See also the small sketch of women in similar postures among Calais harbour views in the 1824 Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook (Tate D19997; Turner Bequest CCXVI 227a).3
Turner had toured Normandy and Brittany in 1829, not long before the painting was shown, so there may be a connection, but as the activity could have been observed on other occasions a generic date has been applied here.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984,pp.187–8 no.334, pl.336 (colour)
Chumbley and Warrell 1989, p.43.
See also Butlin and Joll 1984, p.188, and Chumbley and Warrell 1989, p.43.
Technical notes:
There is a brown stain along the right-hand edge.
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in pencil ‘[?52] | O’ bottom right. There is some brown staining, possibly from the 1928 Tate Gallery flood.

Matthew Imms
December 2015

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