This is one of four sketches of Grindelwald in this sketchbook; see also folios 30, 31 and 32 (D04770, D04771, D04772). Turner approached Grindelwald from Lauterbrunnen by way of the gloomy mountain-hung valley of the Schwarz Lütschental. The village provided the closest access to glaciers anywhere in the Alps. Here, Turner confronts the lower glacier plunging through the forest and the wall of the Eiger rising behind it. He made a chalk elaboration of this sketch in his Grenoble series (Tate D04537; Turner Bequest LXXIV 44). However, David Hill has noted that Turner never developed a fully finished subject from his Grindelwald sketches, suggesting that he felt ‘slightly overwhelmed’ by the scenery.1
David Hill, Turner in the Alps: The Journey through France and Switzerland in 1802, London 1992, p.118.