Thomas Woolner

Turner’s Death Mask

1851

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Thomas Woolner 1825–1892
Medium
Plaster
Dimensions
Unconfirmed: 254 x 178 x 206 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Transferred from the National Portrait Gallery, London 2015
Reference
T14100

Display caption

One way to honour greatness during the nineteenth century was to take a plaster cast of the face after death. Turner’s mask is attributed to the Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner, a great admirer and collector of the older artist’s works. Woolner often used death masks as the basis for portrait busts of his subjects and he probably intended to create a posthumous tribute to Turner. He did the same for a number of other Victorian luminaries, including the writer, Charles Dickens.

Gallery label, February 2010

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