The present watercolour was sold with an accompanying passage from Rogers' Italy, 1835. The section called 'The Alps' (first edition of 1835, p. 31) is where the passage was taken from:
The very path for them, that list, to choose
Where best to plant a monumental cross,
And live in story like Empedocles;
A track for Heroes, such as He who came,
Ere long, to win the Iron Crown;
And (if aright I judge from what I felt
Over the Drance, just where the Abbot fell,
Rolled downward in an after-dinner's sleep),
The same as Hannibal's. But now 'tis passed,
That turbulent Chaos; and the promised land
Lies at my feet in all its loveliness!
In the final publication Rogers and Turner used the burial scene or The Hospice, Great St Bernard II (the Dead-House), circa 1827, to illustrate this passage, see J. Piggott, Turner's Vignettes, London, 1993, p. 101, no. 5, the engraving illustrated; and A. Wilton, The Life and Works of J.M.W. Turner, London and Fribourg, 1979, no. 1156 for the watercolour. Turner worked on watercolours for this publication with the artists Thomas Stothard (1755-1834) and with Edwin Landseer (1802-1873).
The Drance is a tributary of the Rhône in Switzerland, near Evian.
We are grateful to Dr. Jan Piggott for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.