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This colour study relates to another in this sketchbook of Dover Castle from Shakespeare Cliff (Tate D17737; Turner Bequest CCII 18). According to Ian Warrell both were made as preparatory stages in the design of Dover, from Shakespeare Cliff which was engraved by George Cooke in May 1826 as the penultimate plate for the Southern Coast series (see Tate impressions T04424, T05246–T05251, T06000).1
Turner’s employment of layers of muted blue and yellow wash for the sky lends it a prismatic effect. The foreground is an array of quickly wrought strokes, dashes and daubs of wash in grey, ochre, and red. The band of dilute blue representing the sea gives the impression of a stretch of beach beyond.
Warrell 1991, p.35, no.17.