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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Groups of Figures c.1823-4

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 22 Recto:
Groups of Figures c.1823–4
Turner Bequest CCIV 22
Pencil on white wove paper, 111 x 190 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘[?Gr...]’ towards top right
Stamped in black ‘CCIV – 22’ top left, upside down
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, there are three rapidly sketched groupings of figures across the top half of the page. They each appear to comprise three main figures, with the central one including two women; it is possible that the same figures are shown in each case, in successive stages of some task. They appear to be observed from life rather than being ideas for compositions such as the classical scenes earlier in the book (see under folio 1 verso; D17774).
On the left two kneeling figures crouch down towards an object or container which they may be raising or lowering; in the centre are the backs of two women, perhaps seated on the ground, with the legs and torso of a man standing beside them; and on the right, three standing figures are gathered, one of them stooping. Their action may be explained by the effectively illegible word inscribed at that point.
Technical notes:
John Ruskin’s customary red ink page number at the corner beside the later stamp is not readily apparent here, although those on other leaves of this sketchbook are generally very faint.

Matthew Imms
November 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Groups of Figures c.1823–4 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-groups-of-figures-r1172508, accessed 17 October 2021.