View of Gründelwald, Switzerland
inscribed and dated ‘Gründelwald/13 Augt and 7. Septr.’ (lower left) and numbered ‘436’ (lower right) and extensively inscribed with colour notes and ‘all[?] white misty sky’ (upper left) and identifications of plants including ‘juniper, moss & bluebells’
pencil and pen and brown ink
13¾ x 19¾ in. (34.8 x 50.1 cm.)
Lear travelled to Switzerland in the company of his childhood friend Bernard Husey Hunt from 1 August until the beginning of October 1854. The two met at Thun, where Husey joined Lear who was taking in the clean, clear air. By mid August they had set out to walk over the Bernese Alps and across the Rhône Valley to Piedmulera, a few miles from Lake Maggiore. Then they turned west along the valley of Anzasca to the foot of Monte Rosa and up through Saas and the Stalden Pass to Zermatt. There Hunt left him and Lear travelled north on his own to Interlaken and after returned home. He wrote to William Holman Hunt of his experience in the Alps: ‘I was tired of hearing them talked of without having seen them. Now that I have done so, I feel I was right in coming, as there is so much of the astonishing & majestic in Swiss scenery that no landscape painter who wishes his mind to open to the admiration & comprehension of all kinds of nature, should pass through life without seeing this country’ (V. Noakes, The Life of a Wanderer, London, 2006, p. 109).
Lear wrote to his sister Ann that Grundelwald is ‘a wonderful valley with glaciers … they are like mardepore corals – only 15 to 40 miles long, & look as if made of wedding cake.’