Turner loved experimenting with different types of paper to see how they affected his handling of paint. He used a type of blue paper, rougher and more textured than he’d used before, when he made sketches of the French rivers, the Loire and the Seine.

He carried folded sheets in his pockets and sketched directly on the spot in pencil, which he later worked over with pen and ink. More unusually, he also used it for a series of finished watercolours, produced between 1826 and 1834. He combined transparent watercolour with gouache (an opaque pigment) to create effective white highlights.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Le Havre: The Quayside close to the Tour de François Ier' circa 1832

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Le Havre: The Quayside close to the Tour de François Ier circa 1832
Gouache and watercolour on paper
support: 149 x 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'The Folies-Siffait, with Oudon beyond, from the West' circa 1826-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Folies-Siffait, with Oudon beyond, from the West circa 1826-8
Watercolour, gouache and pen and watercolour on paper
support: 143 x 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'A Fish Market, Calais' circa 1826

Joseph Mallord William Turner
A Fish Market, Calais circa 1826
Gouache, pen and ink and pencil on paper
support: 138 x 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'A Village with a Tower beside the Loire, Possibly Béhuard, close to Angers' circa 1826-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner
A Village with a Tower beside the Loire, Possibly Béhuard, close to Angers circa 1826-8
Watercolour, gouache and pen and watercolour on paper
support: 141 x 195 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Paris from the Barrière de Passy' circa 1833

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Paris from the Barrière de Passy circa 1833
Gouache and watercolour on paper
support: 143 x 194 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Melun' circa 1833

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Melun circa 1833
Gouache and watercolour on paper
support: 140 x 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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