The Lake of Zug, Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London), Watercolor over graphite

The Lake of Zug

Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London)
Watercolor over graphite
11 3/4 x 18 3/8 in. (29.8 x 46.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Marquand Fund, 1959
Accession Number:
Not on view
Returning from an extended sojourn in the Swiss Alps, Turner solicited patrons for large watercolors to be based on sketches from the trip. This view was commissioned by Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro of Novar in 1843, and was later owned by John Ruskin. Its accomplished rendering of light and atmospheric effects is characteristic of Turner's finest work. The drawing exhibits the technical prowess that made Turner both controversial and celebrated. The lake and mountains display successive applications of color—in dilute washes, drier watercolors, and semi-opaque mixtures—while the mist and reflections reveal the smooth white surface of the paper scraped out of an already painted area. The sun rises between the mountains Rossberg and Mythen behind the town of Arth while, in the foreground, nude girls play in the lake as villagers approach the shore and set out in boats.
Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro, of Novar (British, Scottish), not in list compiled at his death, 1865; John Ruskin (British)(in 1878 to ?); William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley; William Humble Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley (British); T. S. Kennedy (British), sold by his estate at the following; [Christie, Manson & Woods] Christie's, London, May 15, 1895, no. 95, bought by Agnew; Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd.; Sir Donald Currie and Currie Family (British), 1899-1959; Major F. D. Mirrielees (British), grandson of Sir Donald Currie, sold at the following; [Christie, Manson & Woods] Christie's, London, sale March 20, 1959, no. 56, ill.; Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., bought at the preceding; Vendor: Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd.
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