Ruskin thought that these drawings probably depicted subjects in the Tyrol. However, they have now been identified as views Turner painted while exploring the smaller valleys of the Rhine in 1844, in this case the River Nahe. Ruskin felt that no.81 was 'singularly grand and simple in conception; its colour exquisitely pure, and its execution at once delicate and vigorous. Nothing can be more magnificent than the standing of the buildings on the rock, the firm irregularity of their battlements, and the indications of sloping cleavage in the cliff itself'. In short, he believed that, 'This sketch cannot be too long or patiently studied'.
Gallery label, September 2004