View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This study appears to show various phases of clouds and rain passing over water, with blue sky opening up beyond.
The bright white edges of the clouds towards the top right have been lifted out or possibly masked before the application of the local colour. The top quarter or so is noticeably darker and richer in colour, suggesting that the initial washes below this band were lifted with broad sweeps of a brush, leaving a definite but irregular division. The washes in the central portion are in general paler and more diffuse. Andrew Wilton has addressed these effects in some detail:
Turner’s habit of preparing his paper with horizontal strips of colour can be observed in this sheet. The upper, blue strip was evidently allowed to become much dryer than the lower ones which merge into each other. Wiping-out with the end of the brush-handle is used to make highlights on the upper surface of the clouds.1
Wilton 1975, p.58.
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘AB 150 P’ bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII. 80’ bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII – 80’ bottom left.
The sheet has darkened somewhat at the edges.