Joseph Mallord William Turner

Brunnen, from the Lake of Lucerne: Sample Study


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 242 × 296 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 375

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Brunnen was very little more than a village when Turner first visited it in 1802. It did, however, offer breath-taking panoramic views of Lake Lucerne in both directions, tempting him to revisit it on a number of occasions. Between 1842 and 1845 Turner produced several watercolours which capture his awed reverence for this spectacular scenery. On the strength of the sketch of Brunnen from the lake shown here (no.32), Ruskin commissioned a finished watercolour in 1845. He was, however, deeply disappointed when he discovered that Turner had introduced a group of 'ugly hotels' at the water's edge, since the buildings are indicated in the most general terms in the sketch.

Gallery label, August 2004

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