The castle is seen on its natural mound in the gap in the Purbeck ridge between West Hill in the foreground to the right, and East Hill beyond, looking south-east from the Wareham road. As he approached the Isle of Purbeck from Poole to the north-east, Turner had shown the keep in the far distance in the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08387, D08391; Turner Bequest CXXIII 14, 16). He might have crossed Poole Harbour by boat to the vicinity of Arne and traversed the heathland south to the castle; otherwise he would have had to take the road around the western shores of the extensive estuary via Wareham itself.
The road appears to be indicated in the right foreground. It remains the main route into the Isle of Purbeck, densely lined with trees for much of this stretch, though the castle can still be glimpsed. This is presumably the first of Turner’s close studies of Corfe Castle. For his other drawings of it and the village of the same name, see the entry for folio 17 recto (D08826).