Joseph Mallord William Turner

An Interior with Hangings or a Curtained Bed, with Figures


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 79 × 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI c 40

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this dark interior may contain a curtained bed on the right, with pale shapes apparently indicating figures within. To the left, beyond the bed curtain or a hanging, there are indications of furniture or pictures. This page was exhibited in 1989 in the context of Turner’s stays at Petworth House, Sussex, where he recorded many intimate interiors in gouache, including bedrooms with figures; compare his view of what may be the Petworth State Bed (Tate D22679; Turner Bequest CCXLIV 17). There seems to be little evidence for the traditional direct association of this sketchbook and its companion Colour Studies (1) (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXCI b) with Petworth (see the sketchbook’s Introduction), although Turner’s experiences there may have influenced his subject matter here.
For a discussion of the improvisatory and often erotic nature of the watercolour studies making up most of this sketchbook, see the Introduction.
Technical notes:
The unaccessioned, blank recto is numbered in red ink ‘40’ and stamped ‘CCXCI(c) – 40’; it bears very slight watercolour offsetting from folio 39 verso (D28940). There also is some very slight offsetting from the present page onto the unaccessioned recto of folio 41 opposite (its verso being D28944).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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