Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Lake of Geneva and the Château de Tour-de-Peilz from Vevey


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite, chalk and gouache on paper
Support: 213 × 283 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXIV 42

Catalogue entry

Turner’s label for this drawing is inscribed ‘Lac de Geneve, from Vevay’ [sic]. David Hill’s reidentification as the Castle of Chillon from near Montreux and Clarens, followed by the present author when the drawing was exhibited in 1999, was in turn corrected by Cecilia Powell whose review of the exhibition pointed out that Turner’s label was right after all, and that the building by the lakeside in the middle distance is the Château de Tour-de-Peilz (now the Musée Suisse du Jeu), built in the thirteenth century by the Counts of Savoy. The viewpoint is from the lakeside close to the market-place at Vevey, along the north bank towards the mountains of the Rhône Valley.
In his catalogue notes for Marlborough House, John Ruskin wrote of this drawing: ‘The mountains in the distance are very carefully faithful in contour, and not in the least exaggerated. The absence of exaggeration is, indeed, very characteristic ... as compared with [the drawings] of any other artist. Compare the subdued and quiet forms of the mountains in this drawing with any common Swiss one of the head of the Lake of Geneva.’1
Ruskin owned a larger drawing (currently untraced)2 which sounds from his description like a version of the same subject; ‘A few of the backs of the houses of the lovely old village, as they used to rise out of the lake, – the sun setting over Jura in the distance’.
The paper is badly faded from exposure.
Ruskin on Pictures; Cook 1902, p.224.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.341 no.358, as ‘Vevey’.
Laid down

David Blayney Brown
September 2011

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