Joseph Mallord William Turner Küssnacht, Lake of Lucerne: Sample Study c.1842–3

Artwork details

Küssnacht, Lake of Lucerne: Sample Study
Date c.1842–3
Medium Graphite, watercolour and pen on paper
Dimensions Support: 228 x 292 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 208
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

This view of Kussnacht is a study for the watercolour now in Manchester City Art Gallery, which was commissioned by H.A.J.Munro of Novar in 1843. Like much of the area around Lake Lucerne, the history of Kussnacht is steeped in the legends associated with William Tell and his part in the liberation of Switzerland from Austrian rule. By the time of Turner's visit in 1842, Schiller and Rossini had already turned Tell's life into the stuff of theatre and opera. Although there were already doubts about some details of the Tell myth, Turner dutifully recorded the chapel just outside the village, which stands close to the spot where Tell is supposed to have killed the oppressive Gessler.

August 2004

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