Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View at Geneva near where the Arve falls into the Rhone
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour, gum
  • image width 209mm,
  • image length 270mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne / delt 1780 / No2”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.2 / A View at Geneva near where the Arve, falls into the Rhone, drawn by Francis Towne / Septr 7th, 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 (1972.U.600/Nn,1.1b).

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. 103 as 'Near Geneva'
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. 198
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 31, 73, 111, 123
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 109
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, pp. 54, 60


The Rivers Arve and Rhône join together west of the historic centre of Geneva, still undeveloped countryside in 1780. If the channel of water in the foreground could be taken to be the muddy Arve, and the larger mid-ground stream the crystal-clear Rhône, then this would be a view looking north-east towards Lake Geneva, with the buildings representing the city’s outskirts.

by Richard Stephens

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