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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner ?A Woman in an Interior beside the Curtains of a Doorway or Bed 1827

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 4 Recto:
?A Woman in an Interior beside the Curtains of a Doorway or Bed 1827
Turner Bequest CCVII 4
Pencil on white wove paper, 74 x 100 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘4’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCVII – 4’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Somewhat inexplicably, Finberg described this drawing as depicting ‘Boats at sea’;1 see also folio 6 recto (D18000). Although many of the adjacent pages do record such scenes in relation to regatta events at Cowes, here the subject appears to be a female figure in a shadowy interior with curtains on the left, possibly with another figure indicated beyond, in a doorway or perhaps within a curtained bed. Discarded clothing may be indicated towards the bottom left, but the details are obscure.
Compare the sequence of erotic subjects in the later Colour Studies (2) sketchbook (for example Tate D28875 or D28877; Turner Bequest CCXCI c 2, 4), and see the sketchbook Introduction to the ‘Erotica and Improvisations c.1834–6’ section of this catalogue. Perhaps Turner’s stay at East Cowes Castle involved a real or imagined encounter of the sort he also depicted in some of the gouaches he made at Petworth House later in 1827 (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXLIV).
Finberg 1909, I, p.625.
Blank; there is pencil offsetting from the heavily worked drawing on folio 5 recto opposite (D17998).

Matthew Imms
December 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘?A Woman in an Interior beside the Curtains of a Doorway or Bed 1827 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-woman-in-an-interior-beside-the-curtains-of-a-doorway-or-r1183485, accessed 20 May 2024.