Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • The Baths of Caracalla
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour
  • image width 326mm,
  • image length 477mm
laid paper with a vertical crease down centre of paper, watermarked with a fleur-de-lis within coronet design
mounted by the artist on wove paper watermarked "1811"
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “No33 / Francis Towne / delt 1781”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Rome / Morning light from the left hand / No33 / The Baths of Caracalla / Janry 1781 drawn on the Spot by Francis Towne”
  • in brown ink, in shaky (late) handwriting
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.1.7).

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum
James White (1744 - 1825)
Exhibition History
Royal Academy Bicentenary Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, 1968, no. 673
Francis Towne, Tate Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, 24 June 1997 - 4 January 1998, no. 22
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, pp. 76, 125
Martin Hardie, Water-Colour Painting in Britain, ed. Dudley Snelgrove, London: B. T. Batsford, 1966, p. 120
Henri Lemaitre, Le Paysage Anglais a l'Aquarelle 1760-1951, Bordas: Paris, 1955, p. 157
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 111


The drawing was made on the same spot as the easterly view of FT202, but in this case the direction of Towne’s view is somewhat closer to the south. At its centre the drawing depicts the fortified tomb of Cecilia Metella, situated on the Via Appia Antica, which is also visible in FT206. A similar drawing by John “Warwick” Smith exists.1 See also the Comment at FT202

The watermarked date of the mount shows that Towne was working on this drawing very late in life. Another work was mounted in June 1811 (FT257) and, in common with the Caracalla pictures, was not altered significantly as many other Italian works had been.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 British Museum, 1936,0704.25.

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