Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Le Rêve at the Head of Lake Como (Lago di Mezzola)
ca. 1781
Pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour
  • image width 156mm,
  • image length 212mm
mounted by the artist on paper watermarked “CURTEIS & SON” and made ca. 1795 by William Curteis of Carshalton Mill, Surrey
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “No 33 / F.Towne / delt. 1781”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No. 33 / Le Revê at the Head of the Lake of Como / drawn by Francis Towne / August the 28th. 1781.”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image); Bower 1998


Untraced until sold anonymously at Foster’s on 27 July 1910, lot 151 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.46), whose descendants sold it in 1996 with the rest of Oppé’s collection to the current owner, the Tate Gallery (T08557).

Associated People & Organisations

Tate, London, 1996, T08557
Adolph Paul Oppé (1878 - 1957), London, 27 July 1910, GBP 25s, no.46
Foster's auctioneers (1883 - 1940), 27 July 1910, GBP 25s, 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. 127 as 'Le Reve at the head of the Lake of Como'
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. 3
Loan Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings by Francis Towne (1740-1816) The property of A.P. Oppe Esq. C.B., Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1949, no. 9
Early English Drawings and Watercolours from the Collection of Paul Oppe Esq., Graves Art Gallery, 1952, no. 68
L'Aquarelle anglaise 1750-1850, [organised by the British Council at] Musee Rath, Geneva; L'Ecole Polytechnique Federale, Zurich, 1955, no. 111
Exhibition of Works from The Paul Oppe Collection, Royal Academy, 1958, no. 79
Peter Bower, 'Drawing Paper in the 18th and 19th centuries: Papers from the Opp_ Collection, part 2', The Quarterly Journal of the British Association of Paper Historians: [?] London, 1998, p. 19
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 96, 144
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 117


This is a view of the Lago di Mezzola, just north of Lake Como (see the Comment at FT325). The pale mass on the left is Monte Berlinghera, and Monte Avedée (presumably “Le Revê” of Towne’s inscription) is in the centre and right. Behind both, on the left, is the Pizzo di Prata.

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.