A few years after completing his Liber Studiorum in 1819 (see the two adjacent prints), Turner embarked on a small but important group of original mezzotints—the so-called Little Liber—after broadly executed color sketches that reflect his growing interest in sweeping natural effects. Although never published, these twelve dramatically lit and stormy scenes are considered some of the greatest masterpieces in the history of mezzotint. In this rare trial proof, Turner conveyed the essentials of a moonlit nocturne through the gradual working up of the plate from dark to light—creating what has aptly been called the “topographical sublime.”
"Acquisitions of the Princeton University Art Museum 2010," Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 70 (2011): p. 69-110.
William George Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A. (England: Macmillan and Co., limited, 1908-13).