Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Source of the Arveyron

1802

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 546 x 722 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04887
Turner Bequest LXXIX M

Catalogue entry

See notes to D04880; Turner Bequest LXXIX F for drawings of the Valley of Chamonix and Mer de Glace made on large loose sheets of grey-washed paper. This coloured study shows much the same subject as Turner drew in the St Gothard and Mont Blanc sketchbook (Tate D04613; Turner Bequest LXXV 21); the fountain of the River Arveyron in the immediate foreground on the left, springing from a cave at the base of the former Glacier du Bois emanating from the Mer de Glace. However, Turner has not drawn so many rocks in the foreground and has largely omitted the mountains above the glacier. Hence the St Gothard Mont Blanc study, rather than this one, must have been chosen as the basis of the watercolour made for Walter Fawkes which, as David Hill and more recently by Eric Shanes have argued, was exhibited as Glacier and Source of the Arveron, Going up to the Mer de Glace at the Royal Academy in 1803 (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff).1
Of the large separate studies drawn on the 1802 tour, this is one of only two to be coloured; the other is Tate D04882; Turner Bequest LXXIX H.
1
Wilton 1979, p.342 no.376, as ‘Montanvert, Valley of Chamouni’.
Technical notes:
For the paper and preparation see D04875.
.
Verso:
Laid down

David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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