Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Arricia
Pencil, pen and black and grey inks, watercolour with gum
  • image width 325mm,
  • image length 474mm
paper with a vertical crease at its centre
mounted by the artist on paper watermarked "WHATMAN 1804"
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “Larice / July 11. 1781 / Francis Towne delt.”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Italy / Laricca / July 11th, 1781 Morning Sun breaking over the Church & Buildings / Francis Towne delt / A Copy of this painted on canvas for James Curtis Esqr. 1784”
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.3.14).

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum, London, 1818, Nn.3.14
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Das Aquarell 1400-1950, Haus der Kunst, 1972, no. 143
British Artists in Rome 1700-1800, Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, 1974, no. 142
unidentified exhibition, British Museum, 1981
Pa Klassik Mark - Malare I Rom pa 1780-talet, Stockholm National Museum, 1982, no. 207
British Landscape Watercolours 1600-1860 at the British Museum, British Museum, 1985, no. 36
unidentified exhibition, 1991, no. 16
English Landscape Watercolors from the British Museum, North Caroline Museum of Art, 1991
The Triumph of Watercolour: the early years of the Royal Watercolour Society 1805-55, Dulwich Picture Gallery (2 February to 24 April 2005); Whitworth Art Gallery (13 May to 7 August 2005), 2 February to 24 April 2005 (Dulwich); 13 May to 7, no. 3
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, 'Some Italian Views by Francis Towne', The Connoisseur, No. VLCII: London, 1938, p. 14
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 80, 88, 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. 113
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, pp. 10, 22, 48, 58, 62
Iolo Aneurin Williams, Early English Watercolours, and some cognate drawings by artists not later than 1785, Connoisseur: London, 1952, pp. 88-89
Joseph Farington, The Diary of Joseph Farington [covering 1793-1821], ed. Kenneth Garlick and Angus Mackintyre (ed.), Yale University Press: London and New Haven, 1978, pp. 789, 812, 900, 1215, 2234-2235, 2341


This is a view of the Church of S.Maria dell’Assunzione in Arricia, on the road between Lakes Albano and Nemi. Towne made views of Lake Albano on the days either side of this drawing, 10 and 12 July (FT292, FT293, FT294). The town of Arricia was on a ridge and Towne has adopted the same viewpoint as his many peers who depicted the view, looking upwards towards the church dome from a wooded path below. Examples are known by John “Warwick” Smith, William Pars, and John Robert Cozens, all of which show the Palazzo Chigi on the left, which is hidden by foliage in Towne’s view, as it is in Louis Ducros’s composition.1 A generation earlier Wilson had drawn much the same view.2

The oil version of this drawing is FT410.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 John “Warwick” Smith, Arricia, 1790s? (Witt Library); William Pars, Arricia, ca. 1775–82 (Bridgeman Art Library); J. R. Cozens, Arricia, early 1780s? (Miller 1995); R. Morghen after A. L. R. Ducros, Arricia, ca. 1784 (Zutter 1998).
  2. 2 Richard Wilson, Arricia, early 1750s (Ford 1951).

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