Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • The Grand Cascade, Tivoli
  • Tivoli from below the falls, with the Temple of Vesta
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour
  • image height 504mm,
  • image length 389mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “No.22 / F Towne delt / 1781”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Italy / No.22 / Tivoli F.Towne delt / May 15th. 1781 / from 3 o clock till 6”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; 1996 Tate catalogue (image)


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.3.6).

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum, London, 1816, Nn,3.6
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Gaspard Dughet called Gaspar Poussin 1615-75: A French landscape painter in seventeenth century Rome and his influence on British Art', Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, 1980, no. 77
unidentified exhibition, British Museum, 1981
Travels in Italy 1776-1783 based on the Memoirs of Thomas Jones, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 1988, no. 53
Grand Tour: the Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century, Tate Gallery, 1996, no. 113
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, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 127
Martin Hardie, Water-Colour Painting in Britain, ed. Dudley Snelgrove, London: B. T. Batsford, 1966, p. 121
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 77


This is a view of the grand cascade of Tivoli from the bottom of the gorge, at the north-east corner of the town, a position made popular by Gaspar Dughet’s picture engraved with its pendant by J. Mason in 1744. Of Towne’s circle the view was drawn by Thomas Jones, John “Warwick” Smith, Jacob More, and Thomas Smith.1

As well as this afternoon drawing, on 15 May Towne drew a sketch at 5 o’clock in the morning (FT258).

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Thomas Jones, The Grand Cascade, Tivoli, ca. 1777 (Sumner & Smith 2003); J. Emes after John “Warwick” Smith, The Grand Cascade, Tivoli, 1792 (National Art Library)]; Jacob More, The Grand Cascade, Tivoli, ca. 1785 (Andrew 1993); Thomas Smith, The Grand Cascade, Tivoli, ca. 1780–95 (1793 Manning & Albany exhibition catalogue).

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