J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Chamonix and Mont Blanc, from the Slopes of the Montenvers 1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chamonix and Mont Blanc, from the Slopes of the Montenvers 1802
Turner Bequest LXXV 15
Pencil, watercolour and gouache on white wove paper prepared with grey wash, 320 x 475 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ?‘Tullio’ towards bottom left
Stamped in black ‘LXXV 15’ bottom right
Blind-stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This subject is similar to another coloured drawing from this sketchbook (D04610; Turner Bequest LXXV 18), but is more focused on the immediate foreground, the path to the Montenvers strewn with rocks and overhung by trees. In his catalogue for Marlborough House, John Ruskin described this as a ‘rough sketch made at the same time as the other, but looking down the valley towards Mont Blanc. [Turner] made a more elaborate sketch of this, and afterwards realised it for Mr Fawkes of Farnley.’1 The Fawkes watercolour, signed and dated 1809 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester),2 has been identified by Eric Shanes as the Montanvert, Valley of Chamouni shown in Fawkes’s exhibition of his collection at 45 Grosvenor Place in 1819.3 Shanes describes the view as south-westwards down the valley of the River Arve, across a wide swathe of the Montenvers, with Mont Blanc high on the left.
In this drawing, there is at least one figure standing, and perhaps another seated. Turner’s inscription is somewhat obscure. Read by Finberg as ‘Teillio’ it is more probably Tullio and the name of a guide or some other traveller Turner met on the climb.
Ruskin on Pictures; Cook 1902, p.228; Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.268.
Wilton 1979, p.343 no.387, as ‘The Valley of Chamouni‘.
Eric Shanes, ‘Identifying Turner’s Chamonix water-colours’, The Burlington Magazine, vol.142 no.1172, November 2000, p.692
Inscribed by a later hand in pencil ‘8’ within a circle

David Blayney Brown
October 2011

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Chamonix and Mont Blanc, from the Slopes of the Montenvers 1802 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2011, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, August 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-chamonix-and-mont-blanc-from-the-slopes-of-the-montenvers-r1146515, accessed 23 June 2024.