C&I Honig Series: Northern Italy and Switzerland, August and September 1781

Richard Stephens

In the north Italian lakes, over the Splugen Pass, and while exploring Glarus, Towne used large sheets, measuring ca. 280 x 470 mm and watermarked “C&I HONIG”. Twenty-four of these survive. This second series of the journey back to England begins with a view of Mendrisio dated 24 August (FT343), and the latest surviving example is a view at Pantenbruck dated 3 September and numbered 29 (FT371). Most of the sheets from this series survived into the 20th century in very good condition, largely because they were stored in a cupboard in the Merivale family's villa at Barton Place near Exeter, and were among the most prized by collectors. Excepting three works which were not part of the Merivale collection and were fully coloured and mounted (FT353, FT361, FT362), there is a high degree of uniformity in the medium of these works, which comprises a grey or grey-brown wash, sometimes with a blue wash in the sky. The double sheet view of the waterfall at Pianazzo (FT355) is the nearest that Towne comes to working up the colour by increasing the tonal range of the brown washes, rather like the colouring seen in two small sketches of Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli (FT272, FT273).

For information about Towne's journey from Rome to England in August and September 1781, see 2: On the Continent, 1780-1.

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Article title
C&I Honig Series: Northern Italy and Switzerland, August and September 1781
Richard Stephens
Article DOI
Cite as
Richard Stephens, "C&I Honig Series: Northern Italy and Switzerland, August and September 1781", A Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739-1816), (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016),

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