Description
Creator
Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
Title(s)
  • On the Banks of the Tiber near Ponte Molle
  • Banks of the Tiber, near Ponte Molle
Date
ca. 1780/10
Medium
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour with touches of scratching out
Dimensions
  • image height 205mm,
  • image length 402mm
Support
two sheets of laid paper
Mount
mounted by the artist
Inscription
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne / delt. 1780”
  • in brown ink, gone over in lighter brown ink. This inscription is on the right-hand sheet.
Inscription
  • sheet, recto, lower centre
  • “F.Towne.delt / Rome 1780 No4”
  • in black ink, and cut off at the bottom. This inscription is on the left-hand sheet
Inscription
  • sheet, verso
  • indistinct inscription
  • in brown ink
Inscription
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Rome . No4. / Banks of the Tyber near Ponte Molle / drawn on the Spot by Francis Towne / [“Octr[. . .]” scratched out] 1780[inserted after the scratched-out date] / from 3 till 5 O’Clock afternoon”
Object Type
Watercolour

Collection
Catalogue Number
FT174
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object

Provenance

Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), who gave it in 1816 to the present owner, the British Museum, London (Nn.2.04).

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum
James White (1744 - 1825)
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 145 as 'On the banks of the Tyber near Ponte Molle'
Light, time, legacy: Francis Towne’s watercolours of Rome, British Museum, 2016
Bibliography
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. 199
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 123
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 109

Comment

This is a view of the Chapel of S. Giuliano at Acqua Acetosa in the countryside just to the north of Rome near Ponte Molle. The tower on the far side of the river bank may be the same building depicted in FT173, although it is not wholly clear. Many artists sketched in this area and those who depicted the chapel include Richard Wilson, William Marlow, John Robert Cozens, Pierre-Henri Valenciennes, and in 1783 Nicolas-Didier Boguet.1

This drawing may well have been inscribed at the same time as FT184 and FT185, as they all share a similar style of black ink recto inscription. The “0” of “1780” in Towne’s mount inscription is very shaky and was perhaps done very late in life when Towne’s handwriting weakened.

Towne’s copy of this drawing, probably made for Thomas Snow of Cleve (1748–1832), is FT431.

1754, black and white chalk with stumping on medium, moderately-textured, blue laid paper mounted on medium, moderately-textured, cream wove paper with a border of medium, moderately-textured wove paper with purple wash

Figure 1.
Richard Wilson, The Via Nomentana, 1754, black and white chalk with stumping on medium, moderately-textured, blue laid paper mounted on medium, moderately-textured, cream wove paper with a border of medium, moderately-textured wove paper with purple wash


Digital image courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Paul Mellon Collection, B1977.14.4656

by Richard Stephens

Footnotes

  1. 1 Nicolas-Didier Boguet, Chapel of S. Giuliano, 1783 (Hornsby 2002).

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