Finberg listed this as one of 22 leaves from this sketchbook found ‘in a parcel labelled by Mr. Ruskin – “M. 16. Leaves of S. 229. Laid down.” They have been mounted on cartridge by Mr. Ruskin.’ Evidently, Ruskin isolated these drawings because they were pencil outlines, without the additions of chalk or gouache found elsewhere in the sketchbook.
The Château de St Pierre is below Villeneuve in the Val d’Aosta. Originating from the eleventh century, as a fortress of the Sancto Petro family, it was heavily restored in the late nineteenth century and is today a museum of the natural history of the valley. Here, Turner looks westwards along the valley, towards the castle on its rocky mount on the right and, in the distance, the tower of Château d’Argent. The subject was recognised by David Hill, whose subsequent exhibition and publication showed drawings from Turner’s return to the area in 1836 and illustrated a modern photograph looking in the same direction from closer to the castle.1
Hill 2000, p.203 reproduced.