Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View from Martinelli's Vineyard
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour with gum
  • image width 208mm,
  • image length 268mm
laid paper
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne. delt Rome / No.10. Novr. 2d. 1780’”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.10 / A View taken from Martinelli’s Vineyard / 2 miles from Rome going out of the Porta Pia, from 10 till 1 o Clock / Francis Towne delt. / Novr. 2d. 1780 [date in dark brown ink over scratched-out “Novr. 2d. 1780”]”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image)


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.2.10).

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. 138 as 'Going out of Porta Pia, Rome'
Travels in Italy 1776-1783 based on the Memoirs of Thomas Jones, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 1988, no. 34
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. 199
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 124
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 109
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 62


This is a countryside view in the same genre as FT177 and FT179 and the Oppé collection example by John “Warwick” Smith cited in the Comment to FT179 (which shows Martinelli’s house and is inscribed “Distant View of the hills of Frascati & Monte Cavo”). Martinelli’s villa north-east of Rome was described by Thomas Jones, who visited it often in 1778: 

During the last as well as the present and succeeding Months, I made many very agreeable excursions to a Villa near S’o Agnese without the Porta Pia – This Villa was situated upon a gentle Ascent which commanded a view of the City of Rome on One hand, and the Campagna with the Appenine Mountains on the Other – it belonged to Sig’re Martinelli, a Roman, of good family, but rather reduced in Circumstances – He had originaly a large Extent of Vineyards about it, but had been obliged to dispose of the greatest part to Barrazzi the Banker, who had built himself a handsome Country house in the Neighbourhood – With this Sig’re Martinelli, little Couzins the Landscape Painter lodged in Rome and as he was not well in health, when the Weather was favourable, resided at this Villa for the benefit of the Air, and riding about on jackAss which he had purchased for that purpose – Here I made some Studies in Oil of the surrounding Scenery and was accommodated with a nice Poney whenever I pleased to take an Airing with little Cousins and his jackAss –1

Towne made another sketch of Martinelli’s house, which he also numbered 10 but left in a monochrome state (FT225). Evidently he rejected it for inclusion within the Rome series.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Jones 1951, p.73, entry for 1 June 1778

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