In Turner’s Footsteps around Lucerne: A survey of sketches, part #5

Here we continue In Turner’s Footsteps around Lucerne, examining drawings in three sketchbooks in addition to those in the Between Lucerne and Thun that is our main subject. Here we turn to the third sketchbook in the sequence.

(3) TB CCXCVII Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, ?1844

A medium sized rectangular notebook bound in boards covered in black and white lozenge-patterned paper, 6 11/16 x 4 ¼ in, 169 x 108 mm.  Listed, predominantly for its German subjects, by Cecilia Powell (Turner in Germany, 1995 p.247-8), noting that A.J.Finberg in his Inventory of the Turner Bequest, 1909. had dated it to c.1837-40, and correctly identified the sketch of Speyer f.3r (on the Rhine near Heidelberg) and those of Heidelberg, but not those of Lucerne. Powell lists a number of pages as ‘Lucerne’ and we can here be more specific about five of those that depict Lucerne town itself. Powell observes (p.82, n.11) that the sketching style is very close to that of the other 1844 sketchbooks, and is quite confident of the dating. Ian Warrell (Turner’s Sketchbooks, 2014, p.209) agrees with the date of 1844.


01r as ‘Lucerne’. Image source, Tate

This is a careful sketch of the Kapellbrucke and Wasserturm from the Bahnhofquay, with the Rathaus clock tower to the left, the towers of St Peter’s Church and the Tour Baghard centre, and the Hofkirche in the distance to the right. The view is continued to the right in the lower register to bring in the profile of Mont Rigi. Turner sketched the same material in the Between Lucerne and Thun sketchbook, f.1, but very much more rapidly. This is discussed in a previous article, where the inter-relationship of the sketches is considered more fully.

08a as ‘Lucerne’. Image source, Tate

This is a rapid sketch of the Museggmauer as seen from the Swan Hotel. In the right foreground is the Grendel, curving round to the buildings of the Mariahilfkirche and Monastery, beneath the towers towards the right. The alignment of the Zytturm (fourth from the left) over the left-hand block of the Monastery triangulates the vantage point as an upper-floor room in the Swan Hotel.

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Museggmauer, Mariahilf and Grendel looking over the Swan Hotel

At the top left of the sketch is an indication of buildings on the Gutschwald. This corresponds disconcertingly well with the fairytale profile of the present Gutsch Hotel.

Gutsch Hotel. Photograph by Professor David Hill, 26 May 2014, 18.51 CET

This drawing does, however, appear to be premonitory. The hotel did not assume its full form as a Gothic fantasy until 1901, and does not appear to have begun its development as a hostelry until after 1857. The Stadtplans of 1840 and 1849, however, show a considerable building on the site already, and it would appear from this sketch that a review of the building history might be required.

20 as ‘Lucerne’. Image source, Tate

This is a view of the Tour Baghard, Haus Zur Gilgen and tower of St Peter’s Church, seen against the backdrop of Mont Pilatus. The elevation of Mont Pilatus over the buildings requires the sketch to have been taken from a high vantage –point and the triangulation of the principal buildings places the artist in an upper-floor room of the Swan Hotel. The hotel opened in 1835 and is discussed in a previous instalment. It appears to have provided Turner with his regular accommodation on his visits in the 1840s. Inscribed below left, presumably relating to the boat moored at the quay, ‘Red W B’. 

Turner treated the same subject from the same vantage-point in two colour studies, Tate D36201; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 341.

Lucerne with Pilatus beyond. Image source, Tate

and Tate D36268; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 400

The Lakeside at Lucerne, with Clouds above Pilatus. Image source, Tate

It seems possible that they were made on the same visit as this sketch.

21 as ‘Lucerne’. Image source, Tate

Part of the Tour Baghard with the Hofkirche beyond. This looks very much as if it was the continuation right of a previous sketch. No such sketch presents itself in the book today, although Turner sketched the same material from close nearby in f.1, above.

21a as ‘Lucerne’. Image source, Tate

21a as ‘Lucerne’

The Jesuit church from the Kapellbrucke, with the Wasserturm to the left, Reussbrucke to the right and Rathaus clock tower closing the composition to the right.

Jesuit church and Reussbrucke from Kapellbrucke. Photograph by Professor David Hill, 26 May 2014, 10.57 CET

Turner’s Lucerne viewpoints in the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook

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To be continued:

Next: Three drawings on grey paper

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