Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View of the Town and Lake of Lugano
Pen and grey ink, watercolour, gum
  • image width 360mm,
  • image length 540mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne 1787”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “A View of the Town, & Lake of Luguano / Drawn by / Francis Towne / 1787”
  • in brown ink and “No8” in pencil in an eighteenth-century hand, perhaps Towne’s
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Museum records; Bury 1962 (image)


The drawing was brought into an Exeter shop in the 1950s (see the provenance given for its pair, FT535), where it was bought by Francis Gentry, who sold it at Sotheby’s on 9 November 1955, lot 35, for £450 to Agnew’s (no.8108), who sold it on 26 March 1956 to Wildenstein & Co for £517 10s. It was given anonymously in 1973 to the current owner, Rhode Island School of Design (73.204.50).

Associated People & Organisations

Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence, 1973, 73.204.50
Wildenstein & Co, 26 March 1956, GBP 517.10s
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 9 November 1955, GBP 450, no.8108
Sotheby's, London, London, 9 November 1955, lot 35
Francis Gentry, Exeter, 1950
Exhibition History
82nd Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1956, no. 22
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 89
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 92


This is a version of Towne’s 1781 sketch on the shore of Lake Lugano (FT346) and is a pair with the 1787 view of Lake Como in the same collection (FT535). Like the Como view, this is a sunset view with orange light coming over the mountains towards the left of the view. The two monks in the foreground allude to Towne’s viewpoint, at the monastery of S.Maria degli Angioli

by Richard Stephens

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