Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Going into the Villa Ludovisi
1780/12/09 - 1789/12/09
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour
  • image width 464mm,
  • image length 322mm
laid paper with a horizontal crease along its centre
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne. delt / No19. Decr. 9. 178[indistinct]”
  • in brown ink
  • sheet, verso
  • indistinct
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.19 / Going into the Villa B. Ludovici[this word above the line] C. / Rome Francis Towne delt.”
  • in brown ink
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White (1744–1825) of Exeter, who gave it in 1816 to the present owner, the British Museum, London (Nn.2.25).

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. 158 as 'Going into the Villa Ludovisi'
unidentified exhibition, British Museum, 1981
British Landscape Watercolours 1600-1860 at the British Museum, British Museum, 1985, no. 34
The Great Age of British Watercolours 1750-1880, Royal Academy of Arts, 1993, no. 268
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. 200
Henri Lemaitre, Le Paysage Anglais a l'Aquarelle 1760-1951, Bordas: Paris, 1955, p. 154
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 124
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, pp. 55-56


1774, watercolour and ink on paper

Villa Ludovisi’s gardens and collections were the creation of Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi (1595–1632) and were among the most celebrated gardens of eighteenth-century Rome. As Wilcox observed, John Downman also depicted this wall.1

There is some blue watercolour on the centre right of the mount; perhaps Towne has touched up the drawing to minimise the effect of the crease mark. The paper has been cut at its right edge, obliterating the fourth digit of the year “178”.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 John Downman, Villa Ludovisi, 1774 (

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