Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View of Lake Lugano taken from Mendrisio
ca. 1781/08/24
Pencil, pen and brown ink, grey-brown wash
  • image width 276mm,
  • image length 454mm
paper with partial visible watermark C...[&I HONIG]
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.3 / A View of the lake of Lugano taken from Mendris / August 24th. 1781 / Porto the Towne / light from the right hand / Francis Towne”
  • in brown ink, upside down in relation to the drawing
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Christie's records (image)


Untraced until acquired before 1904 by Herbert Horne (1864–1916), who sold it that year to Sir Edward Marsh (1872–1953). The details of its acquisition by Horne are unknown, but he was collecting English drawings as early as 1891, according to Sir Brinsley Ford’s obituary of Paul Oppé (Burlington Magazine, 1957). This work was purchased from Spink in January 1947 for £80 by Sir William Worsley, Bt (1890–1973). It was offered it for sale at Christie’s on 5 June 2003, lot 40, where it did not sell.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection
Christie's, London, London, 5 June 2003, lot 40
Sir William Worsley (1890 - 1973), January 1947, GBP 80
Spink & Son, London, London
Sir Edward Marsh, 1904
Herbert Horne
Exhibition History
Exhibition of the Herbert Horne Collection of Drawings with special reference to the works of Alexander Cozens, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1916, no. 65
unidentified exhibition, Institute of Art Research, 1929
British Art, Royal Academy, 1934
British Drawings, 1935
Watercolours by Francis Towne, City Art Gallery, 1950, no. 19
Early English Water Colours, Leeds City Art Gallery, 8 October 1958 to 23 November 1958, no. 95
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 142
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 116
Sir William Worsley, Early English Water-Colours at Hovingham Hall: 1963, p. 10


Mendrisio is halfway between Lakes Lugano and Como. The Worsley catalogue mistakenly states that this drawing is dated 1 September.

by Richard Stephens

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