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Turner has inscribed this sheet from the 'Ambleteuse and Wimereux' sketchbook 'I shall use this', implying that he considered employing the design for a finished work, perhaps an oil in the series of whaling pictures he produced in 1845-6.
There are two whales in this watercolour. One, its tail raised, is diving. The back of the second is indicated by a long, curved pencil line below the tail of the first. A harpoon appears to have struck one of them, for the sea is stained red with blood.

September 2004