These rapid studies, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, include a swan apparently landing or preparing to take off from water and others in flight; they may have been made on the River Thames west of London, the subject of various drawings in this sketchbook (see the Introduction).
A large, unfinished watercolour of about 1805, traditionally known as ‘The Swan’s Nest’ (Tate D04163; Turner Bequest LXX L) shows Syon House, beside the Thames at Brentford, the likely subject of the sketch on folio 41 verso (D08349), and the birds remain particularly associated with the river.1 Earlier studies include those in the Swans sketchbook (Tate D01689, D01690; Turner Bequest XLII 14, 15) and the Salisbury sketchbook (Tate D02246; Turner Bequest XLIX 4) of the late 1790s.
See ‘Swan Upping’, The British Monarchy, accessed 11 September 2013, http://www
.royal. .gov .uk /RoyalEventsandCeremonies /SwanUpping /SwanUpping .aspx
The outer edges of the page are stained from proximity to the leather overlaps under the paste-down inside the back cover (D40901). The final figure of the watermark appears to be a ‘1’ but might possibly be a ‘4’ (see the Introduction to the sketchbook).