This rapid study shows a woman stooping in a postures similar to those seen in the painting Calais Sands, Low Water, Poissards Collecting Bait, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830 (Bury Art Museum).1 Ann Chumbley and Ian Warrell have observed that the ‘stooping woman may seem ungainly, yet she evokes a sense of the effort required by her task.’2
Compare a slighter drawing, Tate D40106 (the verso of D24627; Turner Bequest CCLIX 62), and more developed gouaches (D24779, D24880; CCLIX 214, CCLX 44), the second of which shows Calais in the background. See also the small sketch of women in similar postures among Calais harbour views in the 1824 Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook (Tate D19997; Turner Bequest CCXVI 227a).3
Turner had toured Normandy and Brittany in 1829, not long before the painting was shown, so there may be a connection, but as the activity could have been observed on other occasions a generic date has been applied here.
There is a brown stain along the right-hand edge.
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in pencil ‘[?52] | O’ bottom right. There is some brown staining, possibly from the 1928 Tate Gallery flood.