View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This page is dominated by a sketch which positions a small, darkly shaded figure before a towering coastal cliff face with a path zigzagging up it.1 By positioning a figure in the centre of this drawing, Turner underlines the power and size of the jagged coastal forms that rise up around it. Man is very much portrayed as overwhelmed by nature.
Eric Shanes draws a parallel between a smaller drawing on the present page and the cliffs portrayed by Turner in the watercolour and pencil Cliffs near Dieppe probably made around 1826–7 (Tate D25425; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 302).2 Positioned in the top right corner of the sheet, this second drawing captures another view of coastal cliffs and shares topographic traits with the later watercolour. Both demonstrate sharp deviations in the height and depth of the cliffs, resulting in a coastline punctuated with deep pockets, particularly towards the left in both cases. Although the watercolour has so far been identified as a French scene, Shanes suggests that it might be a view at East Wear Bay in Folkestone, along with the present sketch.3
Two thumb prints mark the bottom edge of this page. Towards top right, a dark mark made on the surface of the recto (Tate D17262) shows through to this side of the paper.