The present watercolour is a sketch for Turner's view of Wychwood Forest, measuring 19 x 34½ in. and dated 1809, in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The finished watercolour is inscribed verso 'Scene near where a pleasure fair was formerly held in Whichwood [sic] Forest, Oxfordshire...Shipton on Cherwell, Oxon.'. It was exhibited that year at the O.W.S. and London, Bankside Gallery, Woodstock and Bolton, 1984-5, no. 14, illustrated in the catalogue in colour on p. 18.
Wychwood was only a few miles from where Turner was born and it was a place he must have known well. A horse and pleasure fair was held there annually but by 1857 the Forest Ranger, the Duke of Marlborough, had succeeded in banning it. The mood of the present sketch is similar to that of the finished watercolour which is also painted in dark muted colours. Whereas in this sketch the artist has placed a contemplative figure beneath a tree, in the finished work he has a solitary whinnying pony that creates a similarly melancholic mood.
Turner's loose technique is also similar to that of a Sketching Society watercolour study of trees illustrated in T. Wilcox and C. Titterington, William Turner of Oxford (1789-1862), Wisbech, 1984, p. 30, and shows the influence of John Varley and William Havell.