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This elemental composition, probably the work of a few moments, is nevertheless evocative of trees reflected in still water, and seems to be the start of an idealised composition rather than a simple recollection of such a scene; compare several other muted but slightly more developed ‘colour beginnings’ with dark, isolated trees (Tate D25167, D25168, D25175, D25275; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 45, 46, 53, 153). D25167 and D25168 are also on 1828 paper,1 while the composition of the latter has been linked to the oil painting The Loretto Necklace, painted soon after Turner’s return from his second Italian tour of 1828–9 (Tate N00509).2 He had also been working on watercolours of Italian subjects shortly before the trip.3
The right-hand quarter of the sheet is rather darkened and marked.
Blank; laid down.
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Pupil of Joseph Mallord William Turner A Blasted Tree and a Fence beside Water, with a Church Tower beyond Trees
date not known