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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Pfaffensprung and Gorge of the River Reuss 1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 36 Recto:
The Pfaffensprung and Gorge of the River Reuss 1802
Turner Bequest LXXV 36
Pencil, black and white chalk on white wove paper prepared with grey wash, 315 x 473 mm
Stamped in black ‘LXXV 36’ bottom left, descending vertically, and again bottom right
Turner’s expedition into the St Gotthard Pass and through the gorge of the River Reuss, when he saw the two famous ‘Devil’s Bridges’, was effectively the climax of his mountain tour in 1802. He drew the ‘Little Devil’s Bridge’, or Pfaffensprung or ‘Priest’s Leap’, over the Reuss on the way up to Wassen on the St Gotthard road, in this sketchbook and the smaller Lake Thun sketchbook (Tate D04732–D04733; Turner Bequest LXXVI 72–3). Combined and dramatised, his sketches inspired the plate Little Devil’s Bridge for the Liber Studiorum; Turner’s drawing for it is Tate D08123; Turner Bequest CXVI V.
One of Turner’s larger sketches, drawn on separate sheets during his 1802 tour, may also depict the bridge but the identification (suggested by Finberg) is not certain (Tate D04888; Turner Bequest LXXIX N).
Inscribed by an unknown hand in pencil ‘244’

David Blayney Brown
October 2011

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘The Pfaffensprung and Gorge of the River Reuss 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-the-pfaffensprung-and-gorge-of-the-river-reuss-r1146494, accessed 29 January 2020.