Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lucerne from the Walls: Sample Study


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 234 × 312 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 290

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Turner made Lucerne his base on several of his late visits to Switzerland. He depicted the town and the view across the lake to Mount Rigi repeatedly. Three of the subjects completed in 1842 were of the Rigi (two studies are shown here; the finished works are reproduced in the catalogue). These are tranquil contemplations of the mountain which explore the changes brought about by different light and weather effects. The mountain was visible from the Swan Inn, the hotel Turner favoured on the quayside at Lucerne. Ruskin greatly admired these subjects and understood their importance. By 1857, when he made this selection of watercolours, he owned the finished versions of nos.23, 24 and 35.

Gallery label, August 2004

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