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The Swiss town of Brunnen sits at the midpoint of the long shoreline of the Lake of Lucerne. It was one of Turner’s favorite vantage points from which he could look to the right down the arm of the lake toward Lucerne, and to the left in the direction of Fluelen. Directly across the lake rose the high cliff of the Seelisberg and beyond it, the higher Alps.
Turner made his final watercolor sketches at Brunnen on his last trip to Switzerland in 1844 and from one of those he made this larger and more finished version in 1845 on commission from his patron Benjamin Godfrey Windus.