Turner made four trips to Switzerland between 1841 and 1844. The writer John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) commissioned this watercolour and several others after he saw Turner’s sketches from the first of these trips.
This late watercolour illustrates Turner’s preoccupation with capturing the atmosphere of a place. He returned to Lucerne several times to record the changing play of light on the town’s buildings and Mount Rigi in the background. In this view he illustrates the town bathed in early evening light.