This drawing is part of a group of sketches of boats which were formerly all on one sheet (Tate D17762–D17764, D17766; Turner Bequest CCIII E–G, I).1 Finberg lists the present drawing and others in this group as possible studies for the Rivers of England watercolour The Mouth of the River Humber (Tate D18151; Turner Bequest CCVIII R).2
The vessels in this drawing are arranged in a more linear manner than the previous drawings in this grouping. It also features a man-of-war on the left which is included in the final design for the Humber watercolour. Two vessels, probably Billy-boy barges, are depicted navigating rough waters. As with the other drawings in this grouping, the purpose of this sketch is to determine composition: the orientation of the sails, the effect of the wind billowing through them, the pitch and roll of the shipping on the water.
The white card backing is stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCIII–H’ at bottom left.