Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study for ‘Lake of Geneva, with Mont Blanc from the Lake’

c.1802–5

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Chalk on paper
Dimensions
Support: 271 × 436 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04917
Turner Bequest LXXXI 16

Catalogue entry

Turner produced two watercolours showing the view across the Lake of Geneva towards Mont Blanc, with the city of Geneva to the right: one, Lake of Geneva, with Mont Blanc from the Lake, is a large work painted for Edward Lascelles in about 1805 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven),1 the other a smaller paraphrase of the composition painted a year or two later, perhaps for Walter Fawkes (Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad).2
This drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. Turner clearly attached importance to the subject, which is studied repeatedly in this book, on folios 9 verso, 10 verso, 11 verso, 12 verso, 16 verso, 65 verso, 66 recto, 80 verso, and 81 recto and verso (D04919, D04921, D04923, D04925, D04933, D05030, D05031, D05060–D05062; Turner Bequest LXXXI 18, 20, 22, 24, 32, 128, 129, 158, 159, 160). It is one of his most serene views, and as the sequence of ideas in this book suggests, is closely linked with the subject of the large oil painting Sun Rising through Vapour; Fishermen Cleaning and Selling Fish, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807 (National Gallery, London).3

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.342 no.370, reproduced.
2
Ibid., p.343 no.282, as untraced; see Wilcox 1986, pp.56–7, reproduced.
3
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.53–4 no.69, pl.79 (colour).

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