Joseph Mallord William Turner

Geneva: Fort l’Ecluse Seen in the Distance from the Old Walls


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 229 x 292 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXXXII 11

Display caption

Even though there are several watercolours of Geneva in the Turner Bequest, Ruskin's belief that recent developments had spoiled the city led him to exclude them from his 1857 catalogue. He did, however, make an exception of this view of Geneva from the old walls, which he considered, 'Entirely majestic and beautiful in conception.' Always keen to draw his reader's attention to Turner's technical prowess, he wrote, 'Observe how the bastion in the centre is drawn, owing its whole material existence to little more than the one gleam of light on its angle, obtained by a touch of the brush, through the wet colour, running a little of the tint to its edge, in a dark line which rounds the top of the wall.'

Gallery label, August 2004