In this coastal view, a low sun has been created by ‘lifting out’ a small area of yellow paint above the horizon. The spectacular sky has been built up with multiple contrasting glazes, from primrose to black. With unusual exactness, Turner dated the sketch ‘12 May 1845’ on the bottom left corner of the page.
The dark triangular structure reflected on the water may depict the Tour de Croy. This was an offshore fort built on a rocky reef near Wimereux harbour during the Seven Years’ War.1 Turner sketched this fort on three other occasions during this tour, in both the present sketchbook (D35394; Turner Bequest CCCLVII 9) and the Boulogne sketchbook (Tate D35406, D35414; Turner Bequest CCCLVIII 4, 12). As indicated by the lone fishing boat to the far left, small-scale fishing became the main industry on this coastline as its military-strategic importance declined during the post-Napoleonic peace with Great Britain. By 1840, the former naval garrison at Wimereux had decayed to ‘nothing but a sorry hamlet’.2
For this paper mill, see Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.87.
Blank, except for an ‘M’ or inverted ‘3’ inscribed in pencil at the centre. ‘CCCLVII’ and the Turner Bequest monogram are stamped in black towards the bottom centre.