Of this slight but evocative scene, with subtle ripples as a counterpoint to the dry vertical strokes as texture to the trees, Gerald Wilkinson has remarked: ‘Turner frequently explored in sketches the theme of a leaf-shadowed patch of water, presumably on a river. As a fisherman he would appreciate such places’.1 He gives A Silent Pool, a monochrome composition of about 1824 associated with the Liber Studiorum (Tate D08108; Turner Bequest CXVI G), as another example.2
Wilkinson observed that the ‘addition of a castle was perhaps an attempt to give currency to the rather shapeless, but valid, idea.’3 Eric Shanes has compared the present study with a ‘colour beginning’ in a private collection,4 traditionally described a view of Barnard Castle in County Durham,5 and associated with the untraced watercolour of about 1825 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven),6 engraved in 1827 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T04517–T04518).
Blank; a small abrasion near the centre may be a manufacturing fault. It is barely noticeable on the recto.