The slight study of undulating features below a lively sky at the top may represent the Roman ruins at Richborough Castle, near Sandwich; see under folio 7 recto (D35769) for clearer views elsewhere in this sketchbook.
Along the bottom edge, as Finberg recognised,1 is a distant prospect of Sandwich itself, looking west along the River Stour, with the Romanesque tower of St Clement’s Church and the ogee dome of St Peter’s, under the disk of the low sun. Compare the similar views on folio 27 verso and 29 verso (D35804, D35809; Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 26, 28a). See also folio 33 verso (D35817; Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 32a), and for other views of the town, see under folio 6 recto (D35767). The presumably clear, golden quality of the evening light appears to have struck Turner as comparable to that in paintings by the Dutch landscapist Aelbert Cuyp (1620–1691), whose work he greatly admired, and whose name occurs (variously as ‘Cyp’ or ‘Cuyp’) as a shorthand memorandum of such effects in various sketchbooks.2
Between the two narrow landscapes is a candid outdoor sketch of men in tall hats, which continues across folio 29 recto opposite (D35808; Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 28). Although they are shown without any surroundings, Finberg noted the group as ‘on board a packet’,3 that is to say a commercial cargo and passenger vessel – a steamer, by this date – of the sort that would have taken Turner on his customary journeys down the River Thames to Margate (see under folio 10 verso; D35776). The figures, which include women on the other page, are all turned away in a line and seem to be watching something, so they may well be looking over the rail of a steamer, or perhaps waiting for one beside the sea. See also the hastily rendered, smaller groupings on folios 14 verso and 15 recto (D35784–D35785).