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Technique and condition
This is a double sided graphite pencil drawing. Turner first sketched in the outline of the waves, boat, horses and figures using a fine graphite pencil. Over this two isolated groups have been worked more fully using darker softer graphite pencil, still largely in outline – the group of figures with the boat, and those with the horse and cart. On the back of this drawing (D40054) are a couple of quick outline sketches of sailing boats, again in graphite pencil.
Turner is engaged here with the development of a complex foreground group for use in a coastal subject conceived on an ambitious scale. Some of the small watercolours of coastal subjects executed in 1792–3 (Tate D00391, D00392, D00396; Turner Bequest XXIII Q, R, V) make use of the groups drawn here and in Tate D00398 (Turner Bequest XXIII X). No finished watercolour making use of the staffage as laid out here is known. Turner returned to the idea of the cart-horse rearing and being calmed by a carter for his large oil painting of 1806, Fall of the Rhine at Schaffhausen (Boston Museum of Fine Arts).1
The verso is D40054.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.48–9 no.61, pl.72 (colour).