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Turner most probably used this sketchbook during the summer of 1805, when he explored the Thames near his home at Isleworth. At that date he seems to have often painted his studies actually on the spot, rather than simply sketching in pencil, which was his general habit. The results are some of his freshest and most spontaneous watercolours (and oil studies) of the English landscape. He was not alone in adopting this kind of research, as many other contemporary British artists were also trying to introduce naturalistic colours and lighting effects into their paintings.

September 2004