Sections

Compositions and Copies, 1782–95

Richard Stephens

Most of the entries in this section comprise works that Towne made as part of his practice as a drawing master, and were intended to be copied by his pupils. Not all are dated but, of those that are, the latest year given is 1795. Towne probably produced large series of compositions for copying, as a few are numbered (the highest number being 40 [FT795]). Their status as works to be copied is confirmed in several cases by the survival of copies, such as in the circular landscape (FT792) known in two versions by pupils (FT839, FT845). Another composition (FT794) was copied by a pupil in about 1790, in a version to which Towne himself appears to have contributed (FT852). The drawings to be copied are either didactic compositions of Towne’s own invention, often notable for their adherence to a Bolognese style of landscape composition in which the pen is prominent, or are themselves copies after seventeenth-century or contemporary masters (FT799, FT803, FT804).

Two sketches in this section seem not to have functioned as copy drawings: one was a private visual memorandum of a painting Towne had seen some years before (FT805), another is a scene from Shakespeare, perhaps drawn as an exercise in composition (FT790).

About the author

  • In 2006 Richard Stephens was awarded a PhD at Birkbeck College, London, for his thesis, A Catalogue Raisonné of The Works of Francis Towne, on which this website is based. In 2016 he curated the exhibition Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne's watercolours of Rome at the British Museum, London. He edits The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735, published by the University of York.

Imprint

Imprint
Article title
Compositions and Copies, 1782–95
Author
Richard Stephens
Date
21/01/2016
Article DOI
https://doi.org/10.17658/towne/s3e13
Cite as
Richard Stephens, "Compositions and Copies, 1782–95", A Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739-1816), (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016), https://doi.org/10.17658/towne/s3e13

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