The Val d'Aosta has the freedom of handling and the intensity of light and colour which are characteristic of Turner's work after 1835.

It belongs to a series of canvases of similar size which are the equivalent in oil to the superb watercolour drawings called by Finberg 'Colour Beginnings', now in the British Museum as part of the Turner Bequest. These oils are often described as unfinished but although it is true that Turner would never have exhibited them in their present state, it is difficult, without knowing for what purpose they were painted, to say that Turner intended to do anything further to them. It seems most likely that they were pictures which Turner painted for his own pleasure without any plans either to exhibit or sell them. The subject of the painting was probably inspired by the scenery which Turner saw when he visited the Val d'Aosta in 1836 with his patron and friend H. A. J. Munro of Novar.


Camille Grout, Paris; by descent in the Groult family.

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