In Turner’s Footsteps around Lucerne: A survey of sketches, part #6

Here we continue In Turner’s Footsteps around Lucerne, examining drawings of the town in addition to those in the Between Lucerne and Thun that is our main subject. Here we complete the survey [at least until others are identified] with three drawings on individual sheets of grey paper. Their date, I ought to admit, is as difficult to determine as that of the sketchbooks already discussed. Turner visited Lucerne on most of his consecutive tours in Switzerland, 1841-44, but to which, if any, of these years, these sketches can be assigned is unclear.


Tate D34105; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 382 as ‘Lucerne’.
Pencil with touches of white chalk on grey paper, 197 x 279 mm

The main (lower) sketch, records the view of Lucerne from the lake near Tribschen point. We can see the Tour Baghard and Swan Hotel centre, Kapellbrucke and Wasserturm to left, Hofbrucke and Hofkirche to right, backed by the towers of the Musegg wall.

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Off Lucerne. Photograph by Professor David Hill, 28 May 2014, 12.46 CET

Turner sketched this view three times in all, another sketch is in the Between Lucerne and Thun sketchbook, f.9a and another in the Lucerne and Berne sketchbook, inside back cover. The mountain panorama in the upper sketch is difficult to identify with certainty, but might record the view towards the head of Lake Lucerne from off Tribschen point. If so the lateral perspective is extremely condensed, and the mountain profiles extremely abbreviated. I suggest this with hesitation, for I have generally found that if excuses like this need to be made, then I’m usually in the wrong place!


Tate D34107; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 384 as ‘Lucerne’
Pencil with touches of white chalk on grey paper, 197 x 279 mm

Wasserturm and Kapellbrucke from the Reussbrucke, with Rathaus clock tower to left.

Wasserturm from Reussbrucke. Photograph by David Hill, 26 May 2014, 18.28 CET

Similar material sketched in the Between Lucerne and Thun sketchbook, page 7, the Lucerne and Berne sketchbook TB CCCXXVIII 2v, and the Lake of Zug and Goldau sketchbook TB CCCXXXI, 28r and 28v. The group appears related to a watercolour of Lucerne: Moonlight at the British Museum, the subject of a previous article.

Tate D34106; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 383 as ‘Lucerne’
Pencil with touches of white chalk on grey paper, 197 x 279 mm

The Spreuerbrucke from the left bank of the Reuss, with the westernmost towers of the Musegg wall, Nolli, Mannli and Leugisland. Turner sketched similar material in the Lake of Zug and Goldau sketchbook, page 28.

Those are all the pencil sketches of Lucerne that I have discovered thus far. I would not like to pretend that this list might not be improved. If I spot any more, or if anyone shares a discovery with me, I will be glad to add it to the list. If any improvements can be made to the identifications or commentaries, please do feel free to contribute through the comments box at the end of each article.

In addition to the pencil sketches, there is a superb group of colour studies; including numerous views of the Rigi taken from the Swan Hotel. The majority of these are in the Turner Bequest. The interested reader will no doubt enjoy browsing through these on the Tate’s website.

Grey paper sketches; map of viewpoints;

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Next: We rejoin Turner’s boat, sailing across the lake towards Stansstad, to resume the journey Between Lucerne and Thun.

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