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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Studies of a Seated Nude Woman from Two Viewpoints c.1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Studies of a Seated Nude Woman from Two Viewpoints c.1818
D17162
Turner Bequest CXCV a L
Pencil on white wove paper, 175 x 109 mm
Part watermark ‘er & Son
Inscribed in red ink ‘CXCV(a) L.’ top right, ascending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CXCV (a) – L’ top right, ascending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Life drawings on separate sheets are rare in Turner’s mature career, when he tended to use sketchbooks for the purpose. Among few other examples are four perhaps made while abroad in 1833 (Tate D33939–D33941, D33969; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 228, 229, 230, 254). The present drawing and Tate D17161 (Turner Bequest CXCV a K), a similar small sheet with a faint variation on the upper figure, are here assigned to about 1818 on account of the draft text on the verso of the present sheet (D40302), for a speech perhaps delivered in that year.
These two studies show the same nude woman from the back and the side, seated with her legs tucked up and leaning on her right elbow. The pose appears identical in each case, suggesting it was held for some time, likely at a life class at the Royal Academy. Compare for example three studies of a single standing model from different angles in the Richmond Hill; Hastings to Margate sketchbook, in use around 1816 (Tate D10418, D10420, D10422; Turner Bequest CXL 5, 6, 7). The Academies sketchbook of the previous decade contains the largest concentration of such direct pencil studies; compare also the later Life Class (1) book (Tate; respectively Turner Bequest LXXXIV, CCLXXIX a).

Matthew Imms
September 2016

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Studies of a Seated Nude Woman from Two Viewpoints c.1818 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-studies-of-a-seated-nude-woman-from-two-viewpoints-r1184399, accessed 01 April 2020.