Alexander Finberg and Turner scholar Andrew Wilton have exhibited this watercolour as a study for the Ports of England view of Scarborough (Tate D18142; Turner Bequest CCVIII I), where it is in fact a view of Dover.1 Along with the colour sketch on folio 13 (Tate D17732; Turner Bequest CCII 13), Ian Warrell writes that this drawing formed the basis of the design of the penultimate plate of the 1826 Southern Coast series (for a list of Tate impressions see folio 13).2
The viewpoint is the earthworks below Shakespeare Cliff. The castle atop the headland, bathed in a radiant morning light, is defined chiefly by blue shadow. Turner has applied multiple layers of translucent wash, which blend in gentle gradations and lend a prismatic, hazy effect.
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCII–18’ bottom centre and again in a different hand towards bottom left.