The early 1800s saw British artists looking at local scenery anew. Turner was quick to capitalise on a popular vogue for views, and during the 1810s and 1820s travelled the country, filling his sketchbooks and gathering material for topographical illustrations. Many of these were later developed into prints.
Turner’s notion of a native pastoral idyll gained momentum in 1805 when he spent the summer sketching the River Thames, on foot and from a boat. Such close contact with Nature prompted him to experiment with painting outdoors, anticipating by several decades the practices of the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. Turner’s working habits resulted in oil and watercolour paintings that are notable for their freshness and immediacy.