Goodwin first encountered the Alps on a visit with Ruskin and Arthur Severn in 1872, which took them on to Italy. As with Ruskin and his hero Turner, the mountains were to become a major source of inspiration to him, and were a constant theme in his work. 'Will there be anything more wonderful than the Higher Alps in the Kingdom of Heaven?' he wondered in his old age.
A sketch for the present work measuring 3¼ x 4¾ in. and dated 1873 was offered with Chris Beetles, Albert Goodwin, 1996, no. 17. The finished watercolour received ecstatic reviews when exhibited. The Times likened the 'great beds of blue gentian' to 'breadths of fallen heaven' and noted that the picture enjoyed 'the rare merit of really original work from a region so beaten by the painter that it seldom yields other than fruit of a flavour so familiar as to be insipid'. The Saturday Review was equally laudatory: 'We had scarcely supposed this joyous sport of foliated and floral life, this smile of sunshine and laughter of colour, to have been within the possibilities of painting'. Further reviews from The Spectator, The Architect, The Athenaeum and The Observer, of unspecified dates, are pasted on the backboard. Considering the exhibition as a whole, The Pall Mall Gazette thought Goodwin's 'series of studies of Alpine scenery must be regarded as the chief attraction of the gallery. They possess what is sadly wanting from most of the landscapes here - the distinct impression of something actually seen and faithfully recorded'. In particular, they thought the present example 'one of the happiest of the painter's efforts.'