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When Turner was young he often stayed with his mother's relatives in Margate; some of his earliest marine images feature the surrounding Kent coastline. This unfinished watercolour shows a stormy sea at Dover. The large windlass (a capstan for hoisting heavy weights) and the flagstaff on the pier have been left in pencil outline.

However, Turner has used watercolour washes to convey the surging movement of the waves and the threatening nature of the sky. The subdued colour palette of grey, green and blue is characteristic of late-eighteenth-century watercolour painting.

July 2008