Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lake Brienz, Looking towards Ringgenberg Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and graphite on paper
Support: 315 × 473 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXV 55

Catalogue entry

Turner’s label for this subject, numbered ‘14’ as is the drawing, reads ‘Lac de Brienz’. This sketch looks along the bank of Lake Brienz towards the Castle of Ringgenberg on its bluff on the north bank, and in the direction of Unterseen. A similar sketch from this sketchbook, also formerly known as a scene ‘In Savoy’ but inscribed by Turner ‘Brienz’ (D04648; Turner Bequest LXXV 56), shows much the same material from the opposite direction. Both must ultimately derive from Turner’s boat trip on the lake and boats are seen here close to the shore-line along with chalets at the water’s edge. Similar motifs, along with a somewhat closer and more detailed view of the castle appear in a watercolour made for Walter Fawkes in 1809 (Taft Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio)1 though this is most closely related to sketches actually made from Turner’s boat in the Rhine, Strassburg and Oxford sketchbook (Tate D04753, D04761; Turner Bequest 17a, 23a) and a more developed drawing, made after the event, in the Grenoble sketchbook (Tate D04539; Turner Bequest LXXIV 46). Turner’s excursion on the lake in 1802 proved fruitful, leading to five finished watercolours.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, pp.343–4 no.388.

David Blayney Brown
October 2011

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