Joseph Mallord William Turner

An Old Woman in a Cottage Kitchen (‘Internal of a Cottage, a Study at Ely’)


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 204 × 270 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXIX X

Display caption

This painting was shown at the Royal Academy in 1796, along with Turner's first exhibited oil, 'Fishermen at Sea' (represented in this display by a photograph on the facing wall), which also features a dramatic scheme of light within a dark space. Here Turner's Picturesque interest in rustic domesticity has been developed through the influence of the tonalities and parallel subject matter of seventeenth century Dutch genre painting. This is perhaps directly acknowledged by the inclusion of a piece of blue and white Delft style pottery in the left foreground.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Technique and condition

In this work the wove paper is now a deep cream colour but originally was white. Graphite pencil drawing in visible where there are areas of thin paint. Heavy even washes have been overlain rather than mixed to create the colours in this work. Black has been used for the dark areas. The bricks and wickerwork have been depicted with single, well-planned and well-placed dabs in two successive colours. Washing-out with a brush loaded with plain water was used to create the light areas. Pigments used include brown and yellow ochres and indigo.

Helen Evans
October 2008

Revised by Joyce Townsend
February 2011

Catalogue entry

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