Joseph Mallord William Turner

Mount Pilatus, from Lake Lucerne


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

Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 227 x 291 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXXXII 26

Display caption

Ruskin selected this subject largely on account of Turner's handling of perspective on the right hand shore, 'which gives distance and magnitude to the Mont Pilate'. He also noted the introduction of the boat ('to keep the eye from resting on the formal oblong of the lake boundaries') and the long reflections of the blue cloud as distinctively 'Turneresque' features. Sadly, the appearance of the watercolour has changed significantly since it was selected by Ruskin. The darkening of some washes of gouache is especially noticeable in the sky. This seems to be the result of a subsequent change in the pigment used or in the medium applied, and is an effect discernible on other sheets from the same sketchbook.

Gallery label, August 2004

Technique and condition