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Turner worked white chalk accents over this gouache and watercolour painting to depict small vessels sailing close to high headlands. Art historian Ian Warrell has suggested the Normandy coast near the mouth of the Seine as the location for the scene.1 Certainly, the artist made several such colour studies of this area around this time in search of subjects fit for engraved illustrations; for comparable examples, see Tate D24566 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 1), D24594 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 29), and D24645 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 80).
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.260 note 49.
The centre of the sheet is inscribed with a pencil note ‘30’. At the centre of the bottom edge of the sheet is another pencil note reading ‘CCLIX . 208’. The bottom left-hand corner is stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram and the number ‘CCLIX 208’.