Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Female Figures; and a View of Nemi


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 161 × 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 81

Catalogue entry

Turner’s principal use for the Vatican Fragments sketchbook was to record details of art and architecture in Rome. However, he also made several studies of figures from life, and this page contains several swiftly executed sketches of women, one of whom is carrying a baby. He was particularly interested in details of costume and dress, and the studies are annotated with colour notes referring to particular items of clothing. Further sketches of people can be found on the inner front cover and on folios 6 verso, 14 verso, 15 verso, 33 verso, 64, 69, 80, 80 verso and 82 verso (D40619, D15114, D15130, D15132, D15167, D15223, D15228, D15245, D15246 and D15250; Turner Bequest CLXXX 5a, 13a, 14a, 32a, 63, 68, 79, 79a and 81a).
The artist also appears to have employed this sketchbook on several occasions during his journey to or from Naples. The inscription within the inverted landscape view at the bottom of the page identifies the location as the town and lake of Nemi, approximately eighteen miles south-east of Rome. Related vistas can be seen on folio 1 verso (D15106), and in the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15572–D15573; Turner Bequest 9a–10). Further sketches of Nemi can be found on folios 6, 26 verso, 29 verso, 75 verso, 79 verso and 80 verso (D15113, D15154, D15160, D15236, D15244 and D15246; Turner Bequest CLXXX 1a, 5, 25a, 28a, 74a, 78a and 79a), as well as in the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (see Tate D15329; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 19) and the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (see Tate D15567; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 7).

Nicola Moorby
December 2009

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