This sketch was one of those that Ruskin urged his father to acquire, should the possibility arise, shortly after Turner's death in 1851. Even though nearly ten years had passed since he had first seen it, Ruskin retained a vivid impression of this study's sombre mood of 'purple and blue sunset'. It appears to have been among the sample studies shown to potential clients by Thomas Griffith in 1842. This would suggest that Turner considered producing a more elaborate version of this view, comparable with others he painted to order. However, no finished watercolour is known. In fact, none of the sets of Swiss subjects created between 1842 and 1850 (as recorded by Ruskin) included a view of Lausanne.
Gallery label, August 2004