View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Technique and condition
This watercolour and gouache composition has been executed on a medium weight, brown coloured, wove paper. There is no watermark. On the verso (Tate D40321) there is a light gouache sketch, the subject of which is indiscernible.
This is a swiftly executed sketch. The image covers the whole of the recto but is denser in some parts than in others. Some areas are extremely fluid in style; other areas have fairly dry paint application, particularly the application of white gouache in the centre of the image. Layers have been built up in an informal fashion. This work is in quite good condition with the colours retaining much of their vibrancy. The dark brown colour of the paper has been used to great effect to create the atmosphere of this scene. In the top left-hand corner of the verso there is a line of black paint and a small dark blue speck of paint below it, both are probably watercolour.
Prior to conservation in 2009 the sheet was severely cocked as a result of having been damp at some point in the past. There is a crease along the far edge of the right-hand side of the recto. This edge has been torn rather than cut which suggests that it was the right hand side of the sheet which was attached to the sketchbook. There is also a small ingrained crease in the top right hand quarter of the recto – this appears to have been caused during the paper manufacturing process, when the paper was hung over a line to dry.