- Museum number
Lower part of the Valley of Chamounix; sloping meadow in foreground with cattle and figure carrying basket on her head, flat plains beyond with mountains and glacier rising behind
Pen and grey and black ink with watercolour and some gum arabic
- Production date
Height: 328 millimetres
Width: 483 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Engraved by William Woollett, published by Pars, 1773, and by Boydell, 1783.
The group of Swiss watercolours which Pars exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1771 were the first specifically Alpine views to be seen publicly in England. They anticipated by several years those by John Robert Cozens (see 1900,0411.9, 1900,0411.16 and 1910,0212.242) and Francis Towne. In 1770, four years after his return from Turkey and Greece (Mm,11.63, Mm,11.73, Mm,11.70 and Mm,11.4), Pars was engaged by Lord Palmerston, who as a member of the Dilettanti Society would have known his Ionian watercolours, to accompany him on a journey through Switzerland. Palmerston's detailed account of their itinerary, which enables these four drawings to be arranged in their probable chronological order, reveals what the party found most noteworthy (see Andrew Wilton, 'William Pars, Journey through the Alps', 1979). For some of the time they were joined by Horace Benedict de Saussure (1740-99), a naturalist and geologist whose 'Voyage dans les Alpes' was to be published between 1779 and 1796, who guided them around the glaciers of the Alps. Though Pars seems to have been expected to record such natural phenomena in an objective and scientific spirit, in the resulting watercolours he succeeded in conveying the scale and grandeur of the Alps in a way that makes the best of his Swiss drawings extraordinarily impressive.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours, no.43a
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number