View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Here Turner fills the page with swiftly executed sketches and jottings, recording figures, boats, objects and animals at rear. The artist’s inscriptions are so scribbled that they are almost entirely illegible, though one or two are clearer than others. At centre the words ‘nord’ and ‘Delpht’ appear to have been inscribed, perhaps indicating that the destination or origin of the moored boats may be the Dutch city of Delft, situated north of Rotterdam. ‘Nord’ may be translated as ‘north’ in French, while the Dutch spelling of ‘north’ is ‘noord’, pronounced ‘nord’. At bottom left there is a striped ring, next to which Turner has inscribed ‘all colours’, and at bottom right Turner has drawn a ‘Black cob’ or male swan, inscribing ‘Gold and Red [?Bill]’ close by.