Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • L'Aiguille
ca. 1781
  • image length 165mm
  • verso
  • "L'Aiguille" and an indication of the light coming from the right hand
Object Type

L'Aiguille, after Francis Towne
Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Associated People & Organisations



This drawing is known only from the copy (FT834) by John White Abbott. It shows the vast Aiguilles du Dru from Montanvert, the mountain Towne climbed for his views of the Mer de Glace glacier (FT383), the Source of the Arveyron (FT339), the Chapeau (FT338), and the Aiguille du Midi (FT386). Given the time and effort involved in climbing Montanvert, and the cloudy conditions evident in both this drawing and the the Mer de Glace view, it is very likely that Towne drew the Aiguilles du Dru on 16 September 1781, the date he recorded on the Mer de Glace sketch. Towne’s position when drawing the Aiguilles du Dru was somewhat south-west of the present-day viewing platform on Montanvert, which suggests that Towne descended to the glacier surface. White Abbott’s copy is taken up mainly with large foreground rocks. Probably, therefore, it represents the fragmentary survival of a larger composition drawn across more than one sheet.

by Richard Stephens

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