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This is the first of a series of historical studies, biblical and classical, running intermittently through the later pages of the sketchbook to folio 103 verso (D11036); see Introduction to the sketchbook. It is not altogether clear what the present subject might be, but perhaps we can make out a host of figures in the foreground, another in the cloud above centre and a figure of an angel to the right. If so Turner might be working towards a scene of the defeat of the rebel angels from Milton’s Paradise Lost. Alternatively, a painting, The Vision of Jacob’s Ladder (Tate N05507),1 reworked c.1830 but begun considerably earlier, might bear some general resemblance
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.276–7 no.435 (pl.442).