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.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'A Fisherman's Cottage and a Boat Pulled Up under a Low Cliff at Briton Ferry' 1795-6

Joseph Mallord William Turner
A Fisherman's Cottage and a Boat Pulled Up under a Low Cliff at Briton Ferry 1795-6
Pencil and watercolour on paper
support: 275 x 340 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Christ Church, Oxford, from the River' ?1799

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Christ Church, Oxford, from the River ?1799
Pencil and watercolour on paper
support: 264 x 412 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'A Mountain Stream: ?Head of Derwentwater' ?1797

Joseph Mallord William Turner
A Mountain Stream: ?Head of Derwentwater ?1797
Gouache, pencil and watercolour on paper
support: 537 x 379 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Shipping in a Gorge on the River Wye' 1798

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Shipping in a Gorge on the River Wye 1798
Pencil and watercolour on paper
support: 277 x 455 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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