Turner visited Lucerne on all his Swiss tours of the 1840s, usually staying at an inn called Le Cygne, 'the Swan', on the shore of the lake. From here he could look across the water to one of the most famous mountains in Switzerland, the Rigi. He was captivated by its apparently changing colours under different conditions of light, and by the gentle mists which often surround it. Turner made many watercolour studies of it. They usually show the Rigi at sunrise or sunset when the mountain is at its most magical, and when he could explore the dramatic sky effects and reflections on the lake. The 1842 set of finished watercolours included no fewer than three views of the Rigi, based on studies made at the same time as the exhibited drawing.
Gallery label, September 2004