The composition continues across folio 3 recto opposite (D01122; Turner Bequest XXXVII 5). Other drawings in this book corroborate that Turner was making studies of the views from the hills to the south-east of London: Greenwich, Blackheath and Nunhead. This is no doubt from one such viewpoint. Compare folios 3 verso–4 recto, 25 verso–26 recto and 28 verso–29 recto (D01123–D01124, D01167–D01168, D01173–D01174; Turner Bequest XXXVII 6–7, 50–51, 56–57). Although it is fairly clearly a study of a specific place, with the rutted road going over the hill to the left, the turbulent atmosphere suggests a grander, more dramatic reference. The composition is reminiscent of Turner’s ideas for a Biblical subject in his Dolbadarn sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest XLVI), perhaps for his lost painting The Army of the Medes destroyed in the Desart [sic] by a Whirlwind – foretold by Jeremiah, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1801.1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, New Haven and London 1978, revised edition 1984, pp.13–15 no.15.