One of the Greatest, Most Beautiful Watercolours to be Auctioned by Sotheby’s

  1. Jeremy
  2. June 12, 2018 9:09 am

One of the Greatest, Most Beautiful Watercolours to be Auctioned by Sotheby's


This July, Sotheby’s will present at auction one of the greatest and most beautiful watercolours by JMW Turner left in private hands.

Brunnen is part of a celebrated group of 25 ‘finished’ Swiss landscapes that Turner made during the final decade of his life – a collection of works widely considered the pinnacle of the artist’s achievements in the medium. Offered with an estimate of £1,200,000 – 1,800,000, the work will be the highlight of the Old Master & British Works on Paper sale in London on 4 July.

Mark Griffith-Jones, Specialist, British Watercolours, Drawings and Portrait Miniatures at Sotheby’s said, ‘It is such a privilege to get to know this superb work – whose beauty and history are so captivating. Major watercolours from Turner’s late Swiss period are justifiably held in the highest regard and this is the most important work to appear on the market in more than a decade.’

Depicting one of the most dramatic landscapes in the Swiss Alps, The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen captures the view over the picturesque village of Brunnen on the eastern shores of Lake Lucerne with the magnificent vista of the Bay of Uri unfolding before the viewer’s eyes. Inspired by Turner’s travels to the region between 1841 and 1844, the work was commissioned by Turner’s great patron Elhanan Bicknell to hang as a companion piece to the iconic Blue Rigi – one of three views of the Rigi mountains painted by the artist which now hangs in London’s Tate Britain having been sold for a record-breaking £5,832,000 in 2006.

Works from Turner’s ‘late’ Swiss series have come to be seen as the ‘climax of a lifetime devoted to the expression of light and colour’ with only five of the 25 works now remaining outside of museum collections. Lake Lucerne from Brunnen has remained in the same distinguished private collection since 1968 and was last seen in public at the seminal Turner – The Great Watercolours exhibition at London’s Royal Academy in 2001.

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