This study was formerly part of a sketchbook containing studies of whaling vessels. These sketches may have played a part in the creative process of the three oil on canvas whaling subjects on display downstairs. On this sheet, which was painted at much the same time, Turner has used coloured chalks, as well as watercolour, to create an intense and sombre sunset. Unfortunately, the sheet was among the works of art that were damaged when the Thames flooded the lower floor of the Tate Gallery in 1928; the central part of the drawing is still noticeably blotted.
Gallery label, September 2004