John Ruskin first selected this work for display and considered it a view of Honfluer in Normandy, showing it together with Tate D24641 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 76),1 one of seven blue paper studies of about 1832 which do show the town. Finberg relayed this identification,2 but opinion has differed since; it has been exhibited as a view of Calais,3 of Honfleur again,4 and most recently as perhaps showing Margate.5
Although not as topographically accurate as Tate D20319 (Turner Bequest CCXXIV 29, another blue paper Margate drawing) for example, it has been developed further and its more pictorial, atmospheric qualities may explain variations in representing Margate’s pier and lighthouse and a steamer off Jarvis’s Landing Place; if these do constitute the subject, the view is north-west over the Great Beach towards a clouded summer sunset. For more details of the setting, see the Introduction to this subsection.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLIX.75’ at centre; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLIX 75’ below centre.