The present drawing is a example of Turner's early work and we are grateful to Andrew Wilton for suggesting a date of circa 1796. Stylistically it is similar to Autumn-sowing grain, see A. Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg and London, 1979, no. 173, which is in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art. There are also figure studies, which are stylistically similar in the Studies near Brighton Sketchbook, (Turner Bequest XXX), which dates from circa 1796.
The scene is tranquil, unhurried, a traveller, possibly the artist himself, sits on the ground, holding a sheaf of papers, his satchel beside and passes the time of day with a labourer holding s scythe, his colleague continues to work away behind them, beyond is a distant view of Oxford from North Hinksey showing the Radcliffe Camera, the spire of the university church, Merton College and Magdalen College Tower.
We are grateful to Dr Colin Harrison for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.