Turner may have painted these sea studies on one of his many visits to the coast in the 1830s. He would have carried large sheets of blue paper with him on his travels. These could be folded and torn into a number of smaller sheets.
Over the course of his career Turner experimented with many different coloured papers. He particularly liked the variety of effects he could achieve with watercolour and gouache applied onto a blue ground. The darker surface allowed him to use white highlights to great effect when painting foaming waves or the reflection of moonlight.
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