Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View of Rocca di Papa with Part of the Convent
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour with gum, scratching out
  • image width 387mm,
  • image length 504mm
mounted by the artist, the mount watermarked "J WHATMAN 1794"
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne / 1781”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Italy / No52 / A View of Rocca del Papa / with part of the Convent, the outline drawn on the / Spot / 1781[in dark brown ink, over scratched-out “1781, & tinted / Oct 10th. 180 . . . by”] Francis Towne”
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 1818 to the present owner, the British Museum (Nn,3.13).

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum, London, 1816, Nn,3.13
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
unidentified exhibition, British Museum, 1981
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. 203
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 127-128
Martin Hardie, Water-Colour Painting in Britain, ed. Dudley Snelgrove, London: B. T. Batsford, 1966, p. 121
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 112


Thomas Jones sketched this subject on 22 April 1777.1

The year when Towne reworked this drawing is unclear, although perhaps it is 1805, as he was working on another old watercolour on 2 October that year (51), or 1801, when he was finishing a Welsh view on 21 October (FT082). Oppé, however, noted that Towne’s work “is apparently dated 1803 on the front”.2

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 British Museum, 1981,0516.17.65.
  2. 2 Oppé 1920, p.112.

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.