To the left of this sketch, amidst a burst of yellow sunlight can be seen the seventeenth-century fort just off the coast near Ambleteuse, which also features in the Boulogne sketchbook of the same tour (Tate D35413; Turner Bequest CCCLVIII 11).1 A similar compositional device also features in the two preceding sketches as originally constituted in the present sketchbook (D35388–D35389; Turner Bequest CCCLVII 3, 4). On the same side, somewhat closer to the viewer, is a foreshortened view of a lone fishing vessel. Less easy to make out is the red object at the centre of the composition. Robert Upstone perceives a man in a top hat running across the beach in these pencil and brush dashes although a red-sailed fishing boat coming into harbour is more consistent with the sketch’s perspective.2 By the 1840s, small-scale fishing had become the main industry of the now ‘wretched’ village at Ambleteuse as its military-strategic importance declined during the post-Napoleonic peace with Great Britain.3 With unusual exactness, Turner’s inscription dates this sketch to 12 May 1845.
There is a margin of discolouration to the extreme left of the page.