Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • The Ruins of La Bathia, near Martigny, Switzerland
  • View taken near Martinach in Switzerland
ca. 1789
  • image width 457mm,
  • image length 330mm
Object Type
Oil painting

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Exhibition catalogues; FT812, the etching by B. T. Pouncey
Associated People & Organisations

Exhibition History
The Exhibition of the Royal Academy, Royal Academy of Arts, 1789, no. 123 as 'View taken near Martinach in Switzerland'
Works of British artists placed in the Gallery of the British Institution, Pall-Mall for exhibition and Sale, British Institution, 1809, no. 252 as 'The Ruins of La Bathia, near Martigny, Switzerland, measuring 457 x 330 mm'
British Institution, British Institution catalogue: 1809


Towne’s 1789 exhibit was etched by B. T. Pouncey in 1793 (FT812). Pouncey’s image shows that Towne’s source was a drawing by William Pars (fig.812a). The etching’s subject matter, and its dimensions, make it highly likely that the painting was shown again at the British Institution in 1809, shortly before such repeat showings were banned from its events. The 1789 exhibition catalogue was the first to print Towne’s new address of Savile House in Leicester Square, which he was to use until the exhibition of 1794. Towne’s address in the British Institution’s 1809 catalogue was 39 Queen Anne Street West.

Although neither 1789 exhibit was mentioned by name, the critic of the St. James’s Chronicle noticed Towne’s contributions in passing, commenting: “We should fatigue our Readers, if in this manner we were to remark on the productions of Freebairn, Hearne, Dominick, and J.Serres, Tresham, Ibbetson, Town, &c. &c.”1 This hardly constitutes praise, but indicates in a general way that Towne had a sufficient reputation in London at this time to be recognisable by surname alone, and suggests in what company Towne was associated in the public’s mind. Dominic Serres was a founder member of the Royal Academy, and Tresham became an associate member in 1791.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 The St. James’s Chronicle; or British Evening Post, 12 May 1789, p.4. The same paper had praised Towne's exhibit of 1788 (FT646).

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