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After visiting Grindelwald and its glaciers, of which he took several views in this sketchbook – see especially folio 29 (D04768) – Turner crossed the Great Scheidegg pass to Meiringen. Descending to the grassy valley of Rosenlaui he was confronted at its far end by the Reichenbach falls, cascading down into the Haslital in clouds of spray. He made several sketches, this being the only one in this sketchbook and perhaps his first impression. He turned the sketchbook sideways to make it, thus already anticipating the upright composition of the watercolour dated 1804 and acquired by Walter Fawkes (Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford).1 The most direct source for the Fawkes watercolour (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin)2 is closely related to this pencil sketch and was presumably worked up from it.
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