Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Hadrian's Villa
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour
  • image width 223mm,
  • image length 166mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “N.42 / May 22. 1781. Villa / Adriana. Afternoon / Light from the left-hand. / Francis Towne”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Christie's records (image)


Untraced until identified in the collection of Selwyn Image (1849–1930) by Oppé in 1920. It was sold at Christie’s on 20 November 1953, lot 29 (a pair with 273), for £124 5s. for the pair to Agnew’s (no.7285 or 7286), who bought it on behalf of Sir William Worsley, Bt (1890–1973), to whom they sold it for 190 guineas, according to Christie’s in 2013. Worsley’s descendants offered it for sale unsuccessfully at Christie’s on 5 June 2003, lot 44, and eventually sold it at Christie’s on 2 July 2013, lot 37, for £8,125.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 2 July 2013, GBP 8125
Christie's, London, London, 2 July 2013, lot 37
Christie's, London, London, 5 June 2003, lot 44
Sir William Worsley (1890 - 1973), 20 November 1953, GBP 190 guineas
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 20 November 1953, GBP 124.5s, no.7285 or 7286
Christie's, London, London, 20 November 1953, lot 29
Listed as a pair with FT273
Selwyn Image (1849 - 1930), 1920
Exhibition History
Early English Water Colours, Leeds City Art Gallery, 8 October 1958 to 23 November 1958, no. 93
unidentified exhibition, Oscar & Peter Johnson, 1963, no. 32
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 95, 143
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 111
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 58
Sir William Worsley, Early English Water-Colours at Hovingham Hall: 1963, p. 13


Towne has chosen a subject—a Roman ruin subsequently built on—made famous by Richard Wilson. Towne himself used an engraving after Wilson’s painting as a teaching aid (FT851).

by Richard Stephens

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