This work is on medium weight, grey coloured, wove paper. There is no watermark. All four edges of the sheet have been neatly torn rather than cut.
In the composition the image covers the bottom half of the recto and the sky has been left blank. This is a lightly executed watercolour where the colour of the paper has been used to great dramatic effect. In many places only a single light wash of colour has been used and the sheet itself has been allowed to show through in much of the composition. In contrast to the watery washes used in the rest of the picture, a thick impasto of white gouache has been used to create the whites of the water in the foreground; in the background a much thinner white gouache has been used for the waves, creating a sense of depth in the composition. White was the final material added to the work. On the left-hand side of the composition the detail of the outline of a boat and figures have been executed in what appears to be red chalk.
In the bottom left hand corner of the verso there is what appears to be a number ‘80’ handwritten in red ink, probably by John Ruskin, but the bottom of the ‘8’ is obscured by skinning of the paper in this area.
There are some minor handling creases in the centre of the sheet. There are several areas of brown, aqueous staining on the sheet – most noticeably in the bottom right hand corner of the verso and along the left-hand edge of the verso (these stains are also visible on the recto). There is skinning on the top and bottom left-hand corners of the verso where it has been removed from a lining sheet or mount. In the bottom right-hand corner of the verso a piece of tissue is adhered.
There are smudges and black surface dirt in the bottom right-hand quarter of the verso. Along the bottom edge of the verso, to the left-hand side of the sheet there is some brown surface dirt.
How to cite
Helen Evans, 'Technique and Condition', April 2009, in Matthew Imms, ‘A Rough Sea with Waves Breaking on a Beach, Perhaps on the Venice Lido or the Adriatic Coast ?1840 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2018, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2019, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-rough-sea-with-waves-breaking-on-a-beach-perhaps-on-the-r1196459, accessed 19 January 2022.