Turner evidently made this study, drawn with the page turned horizontally, in preparation for the South View of Christ Church, &c. from the Meadows that he made for the Oxford Almanack of 1799 (Tate impression: T05919). In 1850 the watercolour was presented by the Delegates of the Clarendon Press, along with Turner’s other Almanack designs, to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.1
A similar pencil drawing of this view of the College seen from the river is Tate D02358 (Turner Bequest L Q); a study in watercolour is Tate D08262 (Turner Bequest CXXI G), catalogued here as another leaf from the Smaller Fonthill sketchbook. The finished design differs considerably from this study, notably in the disposition of the spires to the right and in the foreground, where the riverbank with figures and a horse-drawn lorry beyond occupy the right-hand side and the group of barges has been moved to the left.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.333 no.295, reproduced.
The lower right corner has been torn away.
A slight sketch of trees.