Storm clouds loom over like huge waves about to engulf the pass below, where the glacial river surges over tortuous rocks. The small group of travellers viewing the bridge underlines the awe-inspiring character of the scene. Turner first crossed the St Gothard Pass in 1802, and returned in the 1840s. It made a great impression on him and features in sketches and watercolours made from 1802 onwards. It is likely that this drawing was made, however, in the early 1840s.