Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Convent of S. Eframo Vecchio
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour, gum, scratching out
  • image width 324mm,
  • image length 471mm
mounted by the artist, but now cut down in size
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne / 1781. No.14”
  • artist's mount, recto
  • “S EFREMO VECCHIO AT NAPLES [partially obliterated]”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.14 / St. Efremo Vecchio at Naples / drawn on the Spot / by / Francis Towne / [“March 31st. 1781” scratched out] 1781”
Object Type

Convent of S Eframo Vecchio
Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the work


The owner since 1904 has been the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (D.954-1904).

Associated People & Organisations

Victoria and Albert Museum
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 187 as 'St.Efremo Vecchio, at Naples'
Paesaggio Napoletano nella Pittura Straniera, Palazzo Reale, Naples, 1962
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 79, 128
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 95
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 151


This drawing depicts the monastery of S. Eframo Vecchio, on the east side of Capodimonte on the way to Santa Maria de’ Monti. Thomas Jones noted that he spent time with Towne on 31 March 1781,1 which is the date that Towne inscribed on the mount of this drawing (before later scratching it out). As this monastery was not a common destination for foreign artists, perhaps this was one of the “picturesque Scenes of my Own discovery, entirely out of the common road of occasional Visiters, either Cavaliers or Artists, from Rome”,2 to which Jones led Towne during his stay in Naples.

The drawing has clearly been worked on extensively during a period much later than 1781. Towne made a copy dated 1783 (FT395).

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Thomas Jones, Italian Account Book, National Library of Wales, Aberwystwyth, 2003, accessed 18 January 2005:
  2. 2 Thomas Jones ed. Paul Opp&eacute, 'Memoirs of Thomas Jones', The Walpole Society, 32: London, 1951, p.102.

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