Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Bissone, on Lake Lugano
ca. 1781/08/24
Pencil (?), pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour
  • image width 155mm,
  • image length 212mm
mounted by the artist on paper watermarked "J WHATMAN 1804"
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Bisone on the Lake of Lugano August 24th 1781 No.18 / Drawn by Francis Towne [“Bisone” in pencil only, the rest of the line in pen and ink, the remainder in ink only]”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image)


Untraced until sold anonymously at Foster’s on 27 July 1910, lot 151 (a group with FT228, FT257, FT283, FT284, FT296, FT310, FT318, FT319, FT325, FT326, FT327, FT329, FT330, FT339, FT340, FT361, FT793, FT862), for 25s. to Paul Oppé (1878–1957; no.52), whose descendants sold it with the rest of Oppé’s collection in 1996 to the present owner, the Tate Gallery (T08560).

Associated People & Organisations

Tate, London, 1996, T08560
Adolph Paul Oppé (1878 - 1957), London, 27 July 1910, GBP 25s, no.52
Foster's auctioneers (1883 - 1940), 27 July 1910, lot 151
Sold as a group with FT228, FT257, FT283, FT284, FT296, FT310, FT318, FT319, FT325, FT326, FT327, FT329, FT330, FT339, FT340, FT361, FT793 and a drawing by an unidentified pupil.
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 114 or 115 as 'Besoni on the Lake of Lugano'
Catalogue of a collection of pictures, drawings, furniture and works of art of the Empire and Regency period : select examples of Romano-British art, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1929, no. 2
Twee Eeuwen Engelsche Kunst, Stedelijk Museum, 1936, no. 233
76th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1949, no. 1949
Early English Drawings and Watercolours from the Collection of Paul Oppe Esq., Graves Art Gallery, 1952, no. 67
Exhibition of Works from The Paul Oppe Collection, Royal Academy, 1958, no. 91
De Englese Aquarel uit de 18de Eeuw, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Albertina, Vienna, 1965, no. 119
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 146
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 118


This is one of two works of or near Bissone on Lake Lugano (also FT309), both of which are assumed to have been exhibited in 1805.

by Richard Stephens

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.