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Turner worked on a number of views of the river Thames during a campaign of open-air painting and sketching along the river in 1805. Some of them may have been intended as the beginnings of pictures, but Turner used this as an exploratory oil sketch. He repainted its design of figures on the bank in his finished picture which is shown next to this. Its emphasis on the figures rather than the setting perhaps anyway suggests that it might in fact have been a studio design rather than a work painted in the open air.

August 2004