Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Civita Castellana
Pencil (?), pen and black ink, watercolour
  • image width 157mm,
  • image length 212mm
mounted by the artist
  • artist's mount, recto
  • Civetta Castellana, Italy 1st August 1781. / Francis Towne delt”
  • in pen over pencil, not in Towne’s hand
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.1 / Italy Civetta Castellana / drawn on the Spot / by / Francis Towne / August 1st 1781”
Object Type

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


Presumably bought from the artist by Arthur Champernowne (1768–1819), whose descendant Arthur Melville Champernowne (great-grandson, 1871–1946; see Comment at FT602) sold it for £29 (with FT298, FT313) at Sotheby’s on 20 May 1936, lot 1, to “Stelfox” (a pseudonym?), according to an annotated copy of the sale catalogue in the library of the Courtauld Institute of Art (kindly supplied by Donato Esposito). A further Sotheby’s sale on 9 June 1938 to the Palser Gallery for £26 (a group with FT312, FT313, FT583) is also recorded (but see the provenance for FT312). Prior to 1945 the drawing was acquired by Walter James Redfern Turner of Solihull (1889–1945), whose estate sold it at Sotheby’s on 1/2 June 1948 for £125 to Captain Spink, who sold it to David, Viscount Eccles (1904–1999), who sold it to Colnaghi (30107) in May 1967. On 18 June (Colnaghi records) or 1 July 1968 (Agnew’s records) Colnaghi sold the drawing to Agnew’s (no.8556), who sold it on 24 January 1969 to Mrs Cecil G. Keith. It was sold at Sotheby’s on 13 July 1995, lot 52, for £9,500 to Spink, from whom in 1996 it was acquired for £15,500 by Gerald Bauer, before he sold it at Christie’s on 22 January 2003, lot 6, for £12,000, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Christie's, London, London, 22 January 2003, £12000
lot 6
Gerald Bauer, 1996, £15500
Spink & Son, London, London, 13 July 1995, £9500
Sotheby's, London, London, 13 July 1995
lot 52
Hope Malins Keith ( - 1973), 24 January 1969
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 18 June 1968
Transaction took place on either 18 June (Colnaghi records) or 1 July 1968 (Agnew's records). no.8556
P&D Colnaghi & Co, London, London, May 1967
inventory 30107
Viscount David Eccles (1904 - 1999)
Captain Spink, 1 June 1948, £125
Sotheby's, London, London, 1 June 1948
Walter James Redfern Turner (1889 - 1945), Solihull
G. Douglas Thompson, 9 June 1938, £26 with FT312, FT313 and FT583
Sotheby's, London, London, 9 June 1938
Sotheby's, London, London
Sotheby's, London, London, 20 May 1936
lot 1, to 'Stelfox' (a pseudonym?), according to an annotated copy of the sale catalogue in the library of the Courtauld Institute of Art
Arthur Melville Champernowne (1871 - 1946)
Arthur Harington Champernowne (1768 - 1819)
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 134 or 135 as 'Civita Castellana, Italy'
Old Master Drawings, Colnaghi, 1968
96th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colours and Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1969, no. 5
The Watercolour Collection formed by Mrs Cecil Keith, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1984
Annual Exhibiton of English Watercolours, Spink, 1996
L'Age d'Or de l'Aquarelle Anglais 1770-1900, Fondation de l'Hermitage, 1999
Gerald Bauer, Le Siecle d'Or de L'Aquarelle Anglaise, Biblioth: Paris, 1998, p. 45
John 'Warwick' Smith, Select Views in Italy, with Topographical and Historical Descriptions in English and French, J. Smith, W. Byrne and J. Emes: London, 1792, Vol 1 Plate 21


Civita Castellana was a site thirty or so miles north of Rome, which Towne and John “Warwick” Smith visited on their journey north just before reaching Narni (FT799). Smith featured the site in Select Views.1 A second drawing of Civita Castellana was exhibited at Towne’s 1805 exhibition, otherwise unknown but here catalogued as FT299.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Smith 1792, vol.1, pl.21.

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