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It is likely that Bonington made this around 1825-7 at La Ferté, on the estuary of the river Somme in northern France. He probably painted it on location using a wet-in-wet technique – painting directly onto wet paint rather than building up layers or glazes over time – that enabled him to recreate the spontaneity of watercolour in oils. Broad horizontal brushstrokes evoke an expansive blue sky. Vertical strokes create a bank of clouds and a suggestion of rain in the distance. Some details, such as the seated woman on the right, may have been added later in the studio.
Oil on fibre board
H 16.7 x W 27.9 cm
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Gallery, 2012.