Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • The Claudian Aqueduct
  • The Claudian Aqueduct, near the Arch of Constantine, looking towards the Palatine
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour
  • image width 324mm,
  • image length 472mm
laid paper
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne. delt / Rome No.29”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.29 / Claudian Aqueduct taken near the Arch of Constantine / looking towards the Palatine mount [“Febry 16th, 1781” scratched out] from 10 till 12 O Clock / Rome Francis Towne. delt. / It run 38 miles and sunk after the / Proportion of five foot & a half every mile / by the advantage of a high source & the low Situation of Rome / Mrs. J. Fortestcue, Buckland House. Devon / a Copy of this. [“1786” scratched out]”
  • all in brown ink
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 1816 to the present owner, the British Museum, London (Nn.1.03).

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. 172 as 'Claudian Aqueduct'
British Watercolours A Golden Age 1750-1850, J.B. Speed Art Museum, 1977
British Landscape Watercolours 1600-1860 at the British Museum, British Museum, 1985, no. 35
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. 201
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 125
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 110


circa 1756

The Claudian Aqueduct is situated on the edge of the Palatine Hill and is visible in FT183, drawn on the hill. Towne has adopted the same viewpoint as Piranesi’s print of ca. 1756.1

Towne made at least two copies of this drawing, one for the Snows of Cleve dated 1785 (FT428) and another for Mrs Fortescue (FT429), perhaps finished in 1786.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 G. B. Piranesi, Claudian Aqueduct, ca. 1756 (Ficacci 2000).

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