Unidentified circle of Towne
  • Cascade of Buffalora
No date
Pencil, pen and grey and brown inks, grey and brown washes
  • image height 240mm,
  • image width 371mm
on paper with a vertical crease down the centre
  • sheet, recto
  • lower centre, “Cascade of Buffalora” in grey ink and, lower right, “No 15” in brown ink
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image)


Acquired from Yvonne Ffrench (fl.1933–68) by Paul Mellon (1907–1999) before 1975, and probably ca. 1964, and given by him to the current owner, the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1975.4.1741). Quite likely Ffrench acquired the drawing among a group bought from an East Anglian dealer prior to July 1960.

Associated People & Organisations

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1975, B1975.4.1741
Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999), 1964
Yvonne Ffrench (fl.1933 - 1968)
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Landscapes of the Grand Tour, W.R.Jeudwine and Yvonne Ffrench at the Alpine Club Gallery, 74 South Audley Street, 1964, no. 60 as attributed to John “Warwick” Smith


The “Cascata di Buffalora” is just outside Soazza, a little west of Chiavenna. The drawing has a strong imprint of Towne’s large Swiss drawings, which is intriguing as Towne had barely begun the series by the time he was passing Soazza on 29 August 1781; furthermore, the falls were approached not from the road up to Splugen, but on the adjacent route into Switzerland, via the San Bermardino pass. Perhaps, then, it is a drawing in Towne’s style, but not copied from his “on the spot” work; or else Towne and Smith made a detour somehow to visit the cascade.

The drawing is attributed by the museum to John “Warwick” Smith, presumably based on Yvonne Ffrench’s identification. The rationale is presumably that, as it is in Towne’s style but not by Towne himself, it must be by the person who accompanied him through Switzerland. However, it is unlikely that Smith made the drawing, as it is quite unlike any drawings he is known to have made during or as a result of his travels with Towne. 

Leonard Duke once owned a drawing that was probably from the same group as this (see the Comment at FT879b).

by Richard Stephens

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