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Made with the page turned horizontally, this is the most elaborately worked out of the sequence of studies in this book for the canvas exhibited in 1807, Sun Rising through Vapour; Fishermen Cleaning and Selling Fish (National Gallery, London);1 see under folio 12 verso (D04925; Turner Bequest LXXXI 24). Turner had been refining his ideas on the subject of shipping in a calm in a number of drawings in the Studies for Pictures sketchbook, for example Tate D04140–D04142 (Turner Bequest LXIX 123, 124, 125); for what is apparently a crucial stage in the evolution of the subject in that book, see Tate D04133 (Turner Bequest LXIX 116).
As the personnel of the finished picture indicate, with their seventeenth–century Dutch costume, the artist’s inspiration for this type of subject derived from the work of such Dutch marine painters as Jan van de Capelle (1626–1679) and Aelbert Cuyp (1620–1691), as well as their eighteenth–century followers in England, Peter Monamy (1681–1749) and Charles Brooking (1723–1759).
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.53–4 no.69, pl.79 (colour).