The paleness of the sky suggests this is a sunrise, as Finberg described it,1 although Andrew Wilton has called it a sunset.2 The sun and its reflection on the water were left reserved as blank paper for maximum luminosity. Wilton has related the study to ‘Turner’s work on ... “Little Liber Studiorum”; but it is extremely difficult to say with any certainty when such drawings were made. ... Whether they were actually noted down from nature is almost impossible to ascertain; it is more likely that Turner made them in a sequence, within a very short space of time’3 See the ‘Little Liber c.1823–6’ section of this catalogue, and particularly Study of Sea and Sky (Tate D25479; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 356).
For other ‘colour beginnings’ focusing on a centrally placed sun, see the Introduction to this subsection. See also another study with high, highly coloured clouds laid in ‘wet-in-wet’, Tate D25259 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 137).
Blank; no inscriptions.