Turner intended the 'Liber Studiorum' to consist of 100 prints but only 71 were released during his lifetime. He did continue to work on potential prints for the 'Liber' after he had finished publishing the series. A number of related unfinished drawings and plates were found in his studio after his death.
'The Felucca' plate was purchased from a sale of Turner’s estate in 1873 by a buyer known only as ‘McLean’. He arranged for 30 prints to be made from it, including this one. The plate and print were presented to the Walker the following year.
The title refers to a type of Mediterranean boat seen in the distance on the right. Turner made several sketches of these boats during his first trip to Italy in 1819. This view was probably intended for the ‘marine’ category of the Liber.
The 'Liber Studiorum' illustrated Turner’s arguments for the supremacy of landscape painting. The title means ‘book of studies’ in Latin. It contained no written text, instead it was made up of individual mezzotint prints on paper. They were released in fourteen parts from around 1807 until 1819.
The prints reflected the five categories of landscape painting Turner believed existed: architectural, historical, marine, mountainous and pastoral. Turner wrote an initial on each work to indicate which category it belonged to.