The present watercolour was formerly called William Tell's Chapel, though this identification is now thought unlikely. However stylistically and from the use of the coloured paper, it would appear to date from the late 1830s when he was travelling along the Rhine, Meuse and Mosel, 1839 (see C. Powell, Turner's Rivers of Europe, 1991, p. 45 and following).
Christie's previous catalogue entry recorded an old inscription on the frame that the present watercolour was previously in the collection of John Ruskin. E.T. Cook and A.J. Wedderburn, Library Edition of the Works of John Ruskin, vol. XIII, London, 1904, p. 451, no. 57 record a view of William Tell's Chapel, 1840-1841, described as 'a very slight, but lovely record of his retained impression of the Chapel, first drawn by him in the requisite vignette for Rogers' and in the possession of John Ruskin, but 'now in the collection of Sir Hickman Bacon Bart.' Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, London and Fribourg, 1979, lists three views of Tell's Chapel, nos. 378, 1153 and 1480. The provenance of Wilton, op.cit., no. 1480 is given as Ruskin, but there is no mention of Bacon. As the early provenance of this watercolour is still unknown therefore it is possible that the present watercolour may be the one listed in Cook and Wedderburn, though it may alternatively refer to Wilton, no. 1480.
We are grateful to Cecilia Powell for her help in preparing this catalogue entry.