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Like other drawings in this book, this sketch, made with the page turned horizontally, no doubt relates to historical subjects Turner was mulling over at this time. The combination of figures with a violent storm suggests the Biblical subject of The Army of the Medes destroyed in the Desart by a Whirlwind1 which Turner exhibited in 1801; it is now lost, possibly painted over with another subject. Another possible subject is the destruction of Pharoah’s host in the Red Sea, which may be the subject of a separate sheet (Tate D08205; Turner Bequest CXIX R), although he is not known ever to have completed a picture on that theme.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.13–15 no.15.
Blank; washed with a very pale grey ground.