Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lucerne by Moonlight: Sample Study


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 235 × 325 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 324

Display caption

In 1842 Turner allowed a group of his patrons to choose which of his preliminary sketches they wanted him to rework
as finished watercolours. He repeated
this practice in subsequent years,
focusing increasingly on subjects
bordering Lake Lucerne. This work
is one of the 'sample studies' he
presented to the collectors in 1843.


A finished watercolour was commissioned by H A J Munro of Novar (an important patron of Turner's later work). In it Turner gave fuller reign to the swirling vortex of moonlight, so that the individual features seem to float in its light. This watercolour
is now in the British Museum.


Gallery label, August 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

You might like

In the shop