As Gillian Forrester has noted,1
there are similarities between this loose, watery composition, an equally liquid oil study from Turner’s Thames expeditions of 1805, Willows beside a Stream
and the willows and river-bank of Pan and Syrinx
, an unpublished, mythological Liber Studiorum
subject apparently dating from the tail-end of the project in the early 1820s, the drawing for which is in the British Museum, London.3
There may be a figure (with a dark dot for a head), perhaps in a boat, in the gap between the trees to the left, while towards the right an arch-shaped area appears to have been deliberately left blank, possibly with some architectural feature – perhaps a bridge – in mind. Raphael Rosenberg observes: ‘Wasser is hier sowohl Gegenstand als auch Medium der Darstellung’4
(water is here both the subject and medium of the representation). In the absence of specific evidence, the span of the Liber Studiorum
’s active publication, 1807–19, is given here as a date range for the present work (as it is for various other unpublished designs).