J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Partly Draped Standing Figure, Seen from the Back c.1833

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
A Partly Draped Standing Figure, Seen from the Back c.1833
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 230
Pencil on grey wove paper, 180 x 154 mm
Inscribed in red ink ‘230’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCCXLI – 230’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Ian Warrell has described this drawing, Tate D33939, D33940 and D33969 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 228, 229, 254) as ‘Four pencil studies of models’, dating them to about 1833, when Turner visited central Europe and Venice, both on the basis of the paper being similar to sheets used then for topographical views; he also observes that the arrangement of the model’s hair ‘recalls the Italian fashions’ of that period.1
It seems likely that the other three studies show the same woman, although it is unclear whether this figure is her again, or even (if less likely) a man, the torso apparently being obscured by a loose shirt. The garment may be in the process of being put on or taken off; there is a sense of movement in the blurring and rubbing around the head. Warrell has noted that the ‘slightly phallic doodle’ on the right is ‘possible confirmation that the subject is male (unless this is meant to represent an onlooker)’.2
Warrell 2003, p.25.
Technical notes:
Finberg described the media as ‘Pencil and white chalk’,1 although the latter is not now evident. The sheet was once folded horizontally.
Finberg 1909, II, p.1075.
Blank; slight staining, possibly water damage from the 1928 Tate Gallery flood. Inscribed in pencil ‘230’ bottom left, descending vertically.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A Partly Draped Standing Figure, Seen from the Back c.1833 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, February 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-partly-draped-standing-figure-seen-from-the-back-r1184323, accessed 20 July 2024.