The Blue Rigi, Sunrise by JMW Turner

This watercolour is one of three finished drawings of this subject that are regarded as amongst the finest achievements not only of Turner, but also of the watercolour medium.


Watercolour on paper
29.7 x 45 cm
Art Fund grant:
£500,000 ( Total: £4,950,000; Tax remission; Export stopped)
Acquired in:
Private vendor

The watercolour was acquired after a successful public appeal by the Art Fund which raised over £550,000 in just over 5 weeks. The campaign involved a highly successful appeal via the Art Fund's website which raised over £550,000 in just over 5 weeks. Members of the public were able to buy pixellated brushstrokes that gradually revealed the original watercolour as more money was committed. Turner depicts the Rigi, a Swiss mountain peak, rising above Lake Lucerne at sunrise and its defining dark tone reflects Turner's interest in the transforming effects of lighting and atmospheric effects. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Bought for 80 guineas by Elhanan Bicknell, 1842; Christie’s, 1863; Agnew’s; J.E.Taylor, 1863; Christie’s, 1912; Agnew’s; Walter H.Jones; Christie’s, 1942; Agnew’s; private collection; Christie’s, 2006; private collection.

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