Every summer in the early 1840s, Turner tours Switzerland. He has in his pocket the Hand book for travelers by John Murray providing the best recommendations without omitting the legends. He also has his sketchbook where he sketches the features that interest him in the landscape.
He does not realize his watercolors outdoor but when he comes back from the excursion. The pure air of the Swiss mountains excites him. He states that he is an artist of the atmosphere, which means that the ambience appeals to him more than the topography. He is particularly attracted by the lakes with their reflections and mist.
He expresses the changing colors of twilight when the moon is already visible. A watercolor 27 x 29 cm is for sale by Sotheby's in New York on January 28, lot 61 estimated $ 1M, certainly made during his visit at Schwyz in 1843. It shows the Lauerzersee, not forgetting the medieval castle announced as haunted by Murray.
The confrontation of the clear colors offers a pleasure to the viewer with a gradual perception of very fine realistic details centered on the tiny line of the church tower. The achievement of the Swiss watercolors by Turner is unique and inimitable.
After 1844, the artist suspends his mountain trips. He reuses his themes around 1848 in flamboyant colors that make him one of the best precursors of modern art. His replica of the view of the Lauerzersee is owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum. A watercolor 38 x 56 cm of the twilight on the Lungernsee was sold for £ 3.6 million including premium by Sotheby's on July 4, 2007.