Joseph Mallord William Turner
Lucerne by Moonlight: Sample Study c.1842–3

Artwork details

Lucerne by Moonlight: Sample Study
Date c.1842–3
Medium Watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 235 x 325 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 324
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

In 1842 Turner allowed a group of his patrons to choose which of his preliminary sketches they wanted him to rework
as finished watercolours. He repeated
this practice in subsequent years,
focusing increasingly on subjects
bordering Lake Lucerne. This work
is one of the 'sample studies' he
presented to the collectors in 1843.


A finished watercolour was commissioned by H A J Munro of Novar (an important patron of Turner's later work). In it Turner gave fuller reign to the swirling vortex of moonlight, so that the individual features seem to float in its light. This watercolour
is now in the British Museum.


August 2004

About this artwork