Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Two Recumbent Nude Figures

1798

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 95 × 135 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01585
Turner Bequest XL 73

Catalogue entry

The studies, drawn with the page turned horizontally and the gutter at the bottom, apparently relate to the composition sketched on folio 8 verso (D01476; Turner Bequest XL 8a). Compare also the foreground figures in The Fifth Plague of Egypt, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1800 (Indianapolis Museum of Art).1 The left-hand male figure is reminiscent of the dead youth in the centre foreground of the famous painting of The Destruction of the Children of Niobe (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven) by Richard Wilson (1713–1782), engraved by William Woollett in 1761. The half-obliterated figure on the right is probably female.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.10–12 no.13, pl.10 (colour).

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