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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Reclining Nude Woman, Seen from Behind c.1833

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
A Reclining Nude Woman, Seen from Behind c.1833
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 232v
Chalk on grey wove paper, 99 x 143 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram below centre
Inscribed in red ink ‘232’ (sic) bottom right (faint)
Stamped in black ‘CCCXLI – 232 b’ (sic) bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Ian Warrell has linked Tate D33942–D33945 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 231, 231v, 232, 232v) as ‘Studies of a female nude on grey paper’, connecting them to similar small, divided-up sheets used in Austria in 1833. He compares the use of red and white chalks to the technique of a sequence of studies of a male nude in the Life Class (2) sketchbook of the later 1830s1 (Tate D27482–D27513; Turner Bequest CCLXXIX b 2–33).
See also the figure studies in chalks on pages washed in grey in the Whalers sketchbook of about 1845 (Tate D35256–D35258; Turner Bequest CCCLIII 17, 18, 19), particularly D35256.
The present work is the slightest of the four mentioned initially. The main figure, largely defined by white chalk outlines, is seen from the back, in a semi-reclining posture apparently supported by the left arm, while scratchy red lines towards the top right may indicate another torso.

Finberg’s 1909 Turner Bequest Inventory is unclear at this point, listing only ‘232. A female figure. Red and white chalk’.2 The present work is stamped ‘CCCXLI – 232b’, albeit numbered CCCXLI 232v in Tate’s database system, while a second sheet (D33944) is stamped ‘CCCXLI – 232 a’.
Warrell 2003, p.25.
Finberg 1909, II, p.1075.
Technical notes:
Ian Warrell has noted that the right-hand torn edge here matches the left-hand edge of D33942.1
Warrell 2003, p.25.
Blank; scattered staining. Inscribed in pencil ‘232 (b)’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A Reclining Nude Woman, Seen from Behind 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-reclining-nude-woman-seen-from-behind-r1184327, accessed 20 July 2024.