Shelley drew this view on a page of his Swiss notebook (now detached). Instead of his usual imaginary doodles, he has sketched an actual scene, perhaps from a vantage point near his house at Montalègre, which looked across the lake to the Jura Mountains. Or it may be a view of the Savoy Alps, drawn during Shelley’s eight-day boating tour around the lake with Byron in June. ‘The mountains of Savoy’, Shelley wrote to his friend Peacock, ‘whose summits were bright with snow, descended in broken slopes to the lake: on high, the rocks were dark with pine forests, which become deeper and more immense, until the ice and snow mingle with the points of naked rock that pierce the blue air'. The snowy summits, pine forests, torrents and ravines of the Alps made a deep impression on Shelley; their effect on his imagination would soon be superbly expressed in his poem 'Mont Blanc'.
Percy Bysshe Shelley; (1822) Mary Shelley; (bequest, 1851) Sir Percy and Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1889) Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1899) John C.E. Shelley (later Sir John Shelley-Rolls); (gift, 1946) Bodleian.