The degree of elaboration in the details of figures and buildings suggests that this may be an uncompleted ‘finished’ watercolour, based on Tate D01908 (Turner Bequest XLIV f). Alternatively, both are preparatory studies for an unexecuted work; the subject was presumably commissioned by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, and may have been intended as one of a set; see Tate D01907 (Turner Bequest XLIV e), another contender for the group. The buildings visible in this view are the same as those in D01908 – the Temple of Flora and St Peter’s Church.
Turner’s liberal use of stopping-out suggests that he regarded this drawing as an opportunity to experiment technically. The very rough, almost violent, scraping-out in the area of the sky may have been achieved with a coarse cloth;1 though it is possible that some of the scratches are the result of an accident.
The sheet was formerly laid down onto a larger piece of brown card, inscribed in pencil ‘Mr [?or ‘W’] | Turner [?Atty] | [... ?Church 2 [?Wrapper] I [?Paper]’ at the bottom left. It is not certain that the inscription is in Turner’s hand.
The suggestion was made by Eric Shanes (oral communication).
Blank; the card on which the sheet had been laid down has been removed.