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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Commentary on Titian's 'Woman with a Mirror' (Inscription by Turner) 1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 24 Recto:
Commentary on Titian’s ‘Woman with a Mirror’ (Inscription by Turner) 1802
Turner Bequest LXXII 24
Inscribed by Turner in black ink, (see main catalogue entry and D04300) on white wove paper prepared with a grey wash, 128 x 114 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘24’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘LXXII–24’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
For Titian’s picture and Turner’s copy – and discussion of its theme and changing titles – see folio 25 of this sketchbook (D04301). Turner’s comments continue on folio 23 verso (D41518) but for convenience are transcribed here in full:
Titian and his Mistress | A wonderful specimen of his abilities as to natural color, | for the Bosom of | his Mistress is a piece of Nature in her | happiest moments. The Arm beauty | fully colour’d but rather heavy | and the Shadow perhaps too Brown | for the shadow of the Neck | which | appears to have been produced by | a body of grey colour over a rich | ground of the colours of the face strengthening [Finberg; then heighten’d] in the lights which are truly brilliant. The green drapery is glazd over a similar | color but the light really white as | they are cold (unlike the drapery of Joseph [continued on folio 23 verso] in the entombing of Jesus which has been | rather yellow’d first). The ground pervades | thro his Portrait and the red under is | Venetian and VR or Lake over his hands | are Bt. Sienna but her left hand is granulated | with minute colours and toucht with | brown and is not dependt. upon the ground | as the other parts of the picture, which | proves as well as the Hair over the white | drapery that he had some means of using | the ground colour as a Body or uniting | solid coloring with the ground although | I must confess I think it taken off | practically which gives the hand so | granite an appearance. The white drapery | is like this leaf but colder than the high | light a warm colour finely touch’d.
For Titian’s Entombment to which Turner refers here, and his copy, see folio 32 (D04315).
Slight offsets of red and brown wash from folio 25 (D04301)

David Blayney Brown
July 2005

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Commentary on Titian’s ‘Woman with a Mirror’ (Inscription by Turner) 1802 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 2005, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-commentary-on-titians-woman-with-a-mirror-inscription-by-r1129709, accessed 22 June 2024.