The effectively uniform grey foreground presumably indicates the sea, as traditionally supposed,1 while the brightness beyond the ragged upper edge of the dense, silhouetted cloud bank may indicate the moon. Among the canonical ‘Little Liber’ watercolours, compare the effect in Bridge and Monument (Tate D17193; Turner Bequest CXCVII C) in particular.
See also Tate D17196 (Turner Bequest CXCVII F) in the present subsection.
See Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.641, and Finberg 1909, I, p.602.
Blank; some irregular creasing. Inscribed in pencil ‘CXCVII – D’ bottom centre; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CXCVII – D’ bottom left.