Joseph Mallord William Turner

The St Gotthard Road: the Schollenen Gorge and Reuss Valley near Göschenen


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 156 x 201 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXVI 62

Catalogue entry

For the St Gotthard route, see especially folio 30 of this sketchbook (D04686).Having climbed nearly as far as the Italian border, Turner is now looking back along the valley towards the peaks above Amsteg and Altdorf. As John Ruskin recognised, when he included this sketch in his selection of Liber Studiorum subjects for exhibition at the National Gallery paired with folio 48 from this sketchbook, the basis for Ville de Thun (Tate D04705), the subject is the origin of the plate Mt St Gothard [sic] and Turner’s drawing for it (Tate D08113; Turner Bequest CXVI L). Despite this, in her recent study of the Liber Gillian Forrester did not maintain the connection and located Turner’s source in the upright, coloured drawing in the St Gothard and Mont Blanc sketchbook (Tate D04625; Turner Bequest LXXV 33).1
The 1974 Royal Academy catalogue linked the present sketch to the colour study then known as ‘A Road among Swiss Mountains’ but now recognised as a completely different subject in the Grande Chartreuse (Tate D04882; Turner Bequest LXXIX H). For a related and nearby subject, the St Gotthard road between Amsteg and Wassen, see folio 66 of this sketchbook (D04726).
Gillian Forrester, Turner’s ‘Drawing Book’; the Liber Studiorum, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1996, pp.55, 56 note 1.
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘590’ top left, descending vertically

David Blayney Brown
March 2004

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