Drawn with the page turned horizontally, with its summarily indicated ships, buildings and flare, this rough diagrammatic sketch evokes in a bare minimum of lines a romantic harbour scene by moonlight. The most likely subject to have been in Turner’s mind is the story of the mythical Hero and Leander, for which there is a drawing in the Calais Pier sketchbook (Tate D04959; Turner Bequest LXXXI 57). He did not complete a picture on this subject until 1837, when he showed The Parting of Hero and Leander at the Royal Academy (National Gallery, London).1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London, 1984, pp.221–2 no.370, pl.374 (colour).
Blank, prepared with a red-brown ground. Chalk is offset from folio 13 recto opposite (D01828; Turner Bequest XLIII 12).