The history of Kussnacht is steeped in the legends associated with William Tell and his part in the liberation of Switzerland from Austrian rule. By the time of turner's visit in 1842, there were already doubts about some details of the Tell myth but he dutifully recorded the chapel just outside the village, close to the spot where Tell is supposed to have killed the oppressive Gessler.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Küssnacht, Lake of Lucerne: Sample Study
The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free
22.8 x 29.2cm
Graphite, watercolour and pen on paper
Date of work
Original: Graphite, watercolour and pen on paper 22.8 x 29.2 cm Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Joseph Mallord William turner was born in London; he remained a Londoner and kept a Cockney accent all his life despite dominating British landscape painting throughout the first half of the 19th century. He established a reputation in the Royal Academy, first as a topographical watercolourist and then within a few years as a painter of sublime and historical landscapes. From the mid-1790s he settled on the routine he maintained for much of his life: touring in summer and working in the studio in the winter months. He opened his own gallery and had many patrons and admirers as well as detractors. After his death a large body of his works in oil and watercolour was given to the British nation, with many on show at Tate Britain.