This vigorous watercolour has been described as ‘of a freedom normally associated with the late 1810s, or even later’.1 The watercolour studies on folios 40 recto opposite, 41 recto and 42 recto (D10257, D10258, D10260; CXXXVII 39, 40, 41) perhaps represent the Eddystone Lighthouse, off Plymouth, which Turner may have visited in 1813, producing a finished watercolour of it at night by 1817. As the present study perhaps relates to them, albeit without any indication of the lighthouse itself, it is here dated to about the former year. There is a fuller discussion under D10258.
The page is now bound as folio 39 verso, with the image inverted. The recto is blank, but inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘38’ at the top right and by another hand in pencil ‘38a’ at the bottom right.
Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.66.