Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Inside the Colosseum
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour
  • image width 318mm,
  • image length 471mm
laid paper
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne delt / No21 / Rome 1780”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.21 / Inside the Coloseo. [“Decr 22nd. 1780” scratched out] / Rome Francis Towne delt. from 11 till 1 O Clock”
  • in brown ink
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 1816 to the present owner, the British Museum, London (Nn.2.26).

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum
James White (1744 - 1825)
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 164, 165, 166, 167 or 168 as 'Inside of the Coliseo; this edifice is of Travertina stone'; or 169 or 171 as 'Inside of the Coliseo'
Travels in Italy 1776-1783 based on the Memoirs of Thomas Jones, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 1988, no. 40
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. 200
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p.124
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 64


This is an internal Colosseum view similar to FT186, but taken on a higher level and showing steps down, not up. Towne employs fairly ruddy colours, especially in brickwork on the left, typical of his earlier Roman drawings before 1781.

by Richard Stephens

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