The drawing is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. In discussing a ‘colour beginning’ of Garrick’s Villa at Hampton (Tate D25145; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 23) based on pencil drawings elsewhere in this sketchbook (see under folio 21 verso; D20764; Turner Bequest CCXXVII 20), Ian Warrell has observed that the present scene and another watercolour on folio 5 recto (D20741) are ‘similar ... in their treatment of Thames scenery under cloudy summer skies’.1
There are no identifiable landmarks here, and the scene may be at least in part improvised, but it has a feeling of the rural Thames as Turner often depicted it through much of his career,2 apparently with the novel element of a small steamboat silhouetted towards the right. See under folio 2 verso (D20736) for identified views along the river in the vicinity of Hampton Court elsewhere in this sketchbook.
This is one of several pages where the monochrome grey wash common to all the rectos has been worked in watercolour with occasional scratching out; see under folio 5 recto (D20741). Even with the grey wash left undisturbed, the pale building against the trees and its long reflection stand out, recalling Turner’s talismanic attachment to the watercolour The White House at Chelsea (Tate N04728) by his early friend and rival Thomas Girtin (1775–1802).1
For Turner and the White House see for example Susan Morris, ‘Girtin, Thomas (1775–1802)’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p.126.