Technique and condition
This is a drawing on buff-coloured laid paper. A thick, soft graphite pencil has been used in the foreground to create dark, soft looking areas. A finer, harder graphite pencil has been used in the background to create a sense of depth and distance. Turner habitually employed two hardnesses of pencil to achieve such effects.
Here he applied very light touches of white gouache in the foreground, over the pencil shading. This narrow range of materials was a highly practical choice when travelling far from home and working outdoors. The several brown stains on the image, probably picked up long afterwards in Turner’s studio, dominate the image and reduce the impact of the gouache highlights.
The top edge of the sheet has been roughly cut and there are three small nicks and one small hole where this side was bound into a sketchbook. In the past this image was covered with a window mount and displayed in bright light for a prolonged period of time, which has caused slight but irreversible darkening of the paper.
The title given by John Ruskin and followed by Finberg is retained pending closer identification of the location.