The loose landscape forms here suggest trees reflected in a wide river or lake, while the pale yellow of the clear sky over the horizon indicates an early morning scene. There may be a substantial building on the skyline towards the right (presumably Finberg’s ‘castle by the sea’1), or possibly a stand of trees. Rough pencil work appears to outline a building with a spire among the trees on the left, and birds tow over the water opposite, with their reflections.
Eric Shanes has tentatively suggested a connection to Turner’s work on a series of panoramic landscape paintings for Lord Egremont’s Carved Room at Petworth House in Sussex in the late 1820s,2 in particular Chichester Canal of about 1829 (Tate T03885, displayed at Petworth)3 and the full-size study Chichester Canal of about 1828 (Tate N00560),4 both roughly symmetrical compositions with trees flanking the broad canal. Any generic similarity to the paintings appears to be fortuitous; see also Tate D25230 and D25233 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 108, 111).
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in pencil ‘AB 150 P | O’ top left, upside down; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII | 178’ bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII – 178’ bottom right. There are brown stains along the bottom edge, and scattered black stains which may be handprints.