Joseph Mallord William Turner

Storm in the St Gotthard Pass. The First Bridge above Altdorf: Sample Study

c.1844–5

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite, watercolour and pen on paper
Dimensions
Support: 239 x 297 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36135
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 283

Display caption

During 1845 Turner was at work on the more developed watercolour of this view, now in the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. Ruskin had commissioned it 'for the sake of the pines'. But in the finished work Turner 'cut all the pines down, by way of jest, and left only the bared red ground under them'. Although Ruskin honoured his side of the bargain by acquiring the completed drawing, he was dissatisfied and eventually arranged to exchange it for the view of Fluelen (based on no.37), which had been commissioned by H.A.J.Munro of Novar, another important collector of Turner's Swiss subjects.

Gallery label, September 2004

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