Turner loved experimenting with different types of paper to see how they affected his handling of paint. He used a type of blue paper, rougher and more textured than he’d used before, when he made sketches of the French rivers, the Loire and the Seine.
He carried folded sheets in his pockets and sketched directly on the spot in pencil, which he later worked over with pen and ink. More unusually, he also used it for a series of finished watercolours, produced between 1826 and 1834. He combined transparent watercolour with gouache (an opaque pigment) to create effective white highlights.