This subject is similar to another coloured drawing from this sketchbook (D04610; Turner Bequest LXXV 18), but is more focused on the immediate foreground, the path to the Montenvers strewn with rocks and overhung by trees. In his catalogue for Marlborough House, John Ruskin described this as a ‘rough sketch made at the same time as the other, but looking down the valley towards Mont Blanc. [Turner] made a more elaborate sketch of this, and afterwards realised it for Mr Fawkes of Farnley.’1 The Fawkes watercolour, signed and dated 1809 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester),2 has been identified by Eric Shanes as the Montanvert, Valley of Chamouni shown in Fawkes’s exhibition of his collection at 45 Grosvenor Place in 1819.3 Shanes describes the view as south-westwards down the valley of the River Arve, across a wide swathe of the Montenvers, with Mont Blanc high on the left.
In this drawing, there is at least one figure standing, and perhaps another seated. Turner’s inscription is somewhat obscure. Read by Finberg as ‘Teillio’ it is more probably Tullio and the name of a guide or some other traveller Turner met on the climb.
Inscribed by a later hand in pencil ‘8’ within a circle