Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Naples
  • Near Naples
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour (with ink washes?), scratching out
  • image width 320mm,
  • image length 468mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne / delt: 1781 / No11”
  • in brown ink, save the year, which is in dark brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No11 / Naples / Drawn on the spot / by / Francis Towne March 1781 [“March 1781” over scratched-out inscription]”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), who gave it in 1818 to the present owner, the British Museum (Nn.3.02).

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum
James White (1744 - 1825)
Exhibition History
In the Shadow of Vesuvius, Accademia Italiana, London, 1990
Francis Towne, Tate Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, 24 June 1997 - 4 January 1998, no. 23
Light, time, legacy: Francis Towne’s watercolours of Rome, British Museum, 2016
Laurence Binyon, Catalogue of Drawings by British Artists and Artists of Foreign Origin Working in Great Britain Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Trustees of the British Museum: London, 1907, p. 202
Adrian Bury, 'Some Italian Views by Francis Towne', The Connoisseur, No. VLCII: London, 1938, p. 13
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 79, 127
Luke Herrmann, British Landscape Painting of the 18th Century, Faber: London, 1973, p. 77


The drawing was made at or near Capodimonte. The viewpoint is very similar to that in FT230 and FT233. It has been extensively altered in the years following Towne’s Naples visit.

Towne’s trees at bottom right have been drawn to resemble a group of the Three Graces.

by Richard Stephens

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