Ruskin and Switzerland

Ruskin 's first visit to Switzerland took place in 1833 when, with his parents, he undertook his first major tour in continental Europe. From Schaffhausen, Ruskin saw the Alps, which he was to study for the rest of his life, for the first time. He also visited Splügen. On the return journey the family passed through the Simplon, then by way of Vevay, Laussane, Thun, Interlachen, Lucerne and Basle to France on their way back to London. In the summer of 1835 the Ruskins again travelled through Switzerland on their way to Italy, visiting Geneva and Chamonix, passing through the St Bernard to Vevay, Basle, Shauffhausen, Zürich, Gouldau, Lucerne, Interlachen, Thun, Laussane, and St Gall. Ruskin made geological observations and sketches, and architectural sketches on this journey. The latter included Unterseen, Fribourg and the Jungfrau. On the way back from Italy in 1841 the Ruskins passed hurriedly through Switzerland by way of Geneva, Laussane, Neuchatel and Basle. They returned in 1842 to Geneva, Chamounix (where they spent June and July), Laussane and Schaffhausen. On this journey at Chamounix near Mont Blanc, Ruskin commenced Modern Painters as a defence of Turner. The Ruskins travelled to Switzerland again in 1844, visiting Chamounix and the Simplon, where Ruskin met the geologist James Forbes. This trip to the Alps is recalled in Ruskin's geological work Deucalion (1875-83). Ruskin visited Switzerland, including Geneva and Lucerne with his parents on the way to Italy in 1846, when repeating the first continental European journey which he had taken without them in 1845. On their return journey they passed through Vevay, Chamounix and Lucerne.

From April to August 1849 Ruskin visited Switzerland, accompanied for part of the journey by Richard Fall. He made numerous sketches and finished drawings of the landscape of the Alps and began his work on glaciers. He passed through Geneva, the Grande Chartreuse, Vevay, and Chamounix. He returned to Chamounix and passed through the Simplon with his wife Effie in October of the same year en route to Italy and Venice, where they remained until March 1850. He returned to Chamounix on his way to Italy with Effie in August of the same year. Ruskin and Effie again visited Switzerland in 1851 on their way to Italy for their winter stay in Venice of 1851-52, stopping in Geneva and Chamounix and passing through the Great St Bernard. They again passed through Switzerland on their return to London in the middle of 1852.

In 1854, following his wife's return to her parents in Scotland, presaging the annulment of his marriage, Ruskin again visited Switzerland with his parents. They spent three months visiting Geneva, Interlachen, Thun, Lucerne, Chamounix, Laussane, and Fribourg. Ruskin rekindled his interest in the Alps following his concentration on the major architectural works of the 1840s. He returned again in 1856, visiting Berne and Vevay, and making a study of Swiss towns including Fribourg which had an historical intent as well as a topographical one, designed to reinforce his support of Turner. He also visited Geneva and Chamounix. In 1858 Ruskin visited Basle and Rheinfelden, identifying the sites of Turner's drawings which he had recently catalogued. He also visited Brunnen in the country of William Tell. He returned, visiting the north and sketching at Fribourg in 1859, and in 1860 visiting Sallenches and Chamounix and sketching at Bremgarten. He was back in Switzerland in 1861 and 1862, staying at Mornex, near Geneva, into 1863. In 1863 he bought land at Chamounix and planned to build there. He sketched in northern Switzerland, visiting Lauffenbourg, Schaffhausen and Baden. He returned to Switzerland in 1866, visiting Oberland and Lucerne. He visited again on his continental tours of 1869 and 1870. He returned in 1872, 1876 and 1874, and again in 1882, following his second madness. His last visit to Switzerland took place on his final continental tour of 1888.