In the spring of 1842 his commercial agent Thomas Griffith organized in London the sale of ten artworks of which only four were completed at that time. The artist has made sketches for a total of fifteen views that will allow customers to appreciate in advance the effect of the final work.
Griffith selects four clients for this operation. Three of them are great collectors of modern art. The very young John Ruskin whose reputation as an art critic is already established is the fourth. He will later rightly recognize that this series of watercolors is the best of Turner in his entire career in that technique.
The most ancient collector does not accept the invitation. The most motivated is Munro of Novar who in 1836 had the rare honor of being accepted as Turner's traveling companion. He leaves with three finished watercolors and buys two of the future works. Ruskin also chooses two future works.
The other customer is the shipowner Bicknell who had bought in 1841 the view of the Giudecca. This oil on canvas 61 x 92 cm is a masterpiece from the pictures of Venice by Turner. It was sold for $ 36M including premium by Christie's on April 6, 2006.
In the sharing of the Swiss views, Bicknell takes the Blue Rigi, one of the four immediately available watercolors 30 x 45 cm. This picture of the mountain against the light at dawn is a masterpiece of pre-impressionist art with the clarity and luminosity of a watercolor on paper. It was sold for £ 5.8M including premium by Christie's on June 5, 2006.
To have a pendant view to his Rigi from the watercolors still to be achieved, Bicknell chooses a view of the Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen. It is estimated £ 1.2M for sale by Sotheby's in London on July 4, lot 209.
After supplying the view of the lake to Bicknell, Turner gives its preparatory watercolor to Griffith. The sketches were not intended for trade. Turner will retain all the others that will be part of his legacy to Tate Britain. This smaller watercolor from Lake Lucerne 25 x 31 cm was sold for $ 1.1M including premium by Christie's on January 30, 2018.
SOLD for £ 2.05M including premium