In his early work, Turner used colours popular with an earlier generation of artists: low-toned, muted colours such as cool greys, browns, blues and greens. His pencil sketches were usually finely-executed with careful attention to architectural detail. At times he used watercolour a bit like oil paint, with densely layered washes and dramatic contrasts between light and dark.
His early tours took him right across Britain. He studied landscapes as diverse as Yorkshire and the Lake District, the Midlands, the Isle of Wight, Bristol, Oxford and the mountains of Wales and Scotland.