John Ruskin commissioned this copy of Turner’s Fluelen
in 1880 from his friend and pupil William Ward. Turner painted his watercolor following his iconic tours to Switzerland in the early 1840s. Its first owner was Hugh Munro of Novar but by 1878 Ruskin had added it to his collection. In the same year, he included it in his exhibition at the Fine Art Society in London, before selling the picture in 1882. Today the watercolor is held at the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven.1
Ruskin was delighted with the present work, not only inscribing the sheet with the words 'entirely good' but he also referred to it in two letters. In the first of these, dated 20th
March 1880, he wrote: ‘The copy of Turner’s drawing of Fluelen, which has been just completed by Mr. Ward… is beyond my best hopes in every desirable quality of execution; and is certainly as good as it is possible for care and skill to make it. I am so entirely satisfied with it that, for my own personal pleasure irrespective of pride I should feel scarcely any loss in taking it home with me instead of the original’.2
We are grateful to Ian Warrell and Professor Stephen Wildman for their help in the cataloguing of this work.
1. A. Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, London, 1979, no. 1541
2. Ed. E.T. Cook and A. Wedderburn, The Library Edition of The Works of John Ruskin, London, 1904, p. 577