View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Turner scholars have pointed out that sky studies such as this are similar to those in the Skies sketchbook of about 1816–8 (Tate D12450–D12526; Turner Bequest CLVIII 2–69).1 Here Turner has applied blue wash to the sheet in vigorous diagonal dry brush-strokes leaving the grain of the paper exposed to create a mottled effect. This preliminary setting out of colour has been blurred in opposing diagonal strokes of very dilute wash evoking the way in which beams of light pierce through cloud. A roughly wrought strip of wash suggests a headland. The sea beneath is rendered in shades of blue-grey and pale green at the periphery.
Butlin, Wilton, and Gage 1974, p.97, no.260.