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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Woman, Possibly Relating to 'Jessica'; a Woman Reclining c.1830

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 7 Recto:
A Woman, Possibly Relating to ‘Jessica’; a Woman Reclining c.1830
Turner Bequest CCXL 7
Pencil on white wove paper, 110 x 68 mm
Partial watermark ‘Gat | 18’
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘7’ top right, ascending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCXL – 7’ top right, ascending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Martin Butlin has noted Ian Warrell’s observing ‘the relevance’ of the upper sketch here, made with the page turned vertically, showing a half-length study of a woman with her left arm raised, as a possible ‘real-life source’1 for the oil painting of Shakespeare’s Jessica at a window, exhibited at the Royal Academy in the spring of 1830 (Tate T03887; displayed at Petworth House, West Sussex).2
For the figure here, similar general pose but differing in detail to that in the painting, to be a study would mean its preceding the bulk of the summer 1830 Midlands topographical material in this sketchbook, which is watermarked 1827. Otherwise, the resemblance may be fortuitous. Andrew Wilton has accepted the connection ‘in all probability’, noting the presence of the second study on this page and others of young women on folios 12 recto and verso (D22341, D22342) as possible ‘initial ideas for this or other works of the same kind’.3
For other figure studies in this sketchbook, see under folio 1 verso (D22324).
Butlin 1989, p.90.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.186–7 no.333, pl.333 (colour)
Wilton 1989, p.21.

Matthew Imms
August 2013

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A Woman, Possibly Relating to ‘Jessica’; a Woman Reclining c.1830 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-woman-possibly-relating-to-jessica-a-woman-reclining-r1148483, accessed 26 January 2022.