John 'Warwick' Smith (1749 - 1851) Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Modern Bridge at Narni
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour, gum
  • image height 213mm,
  • image length 300mm
laid paper with a fleur-de-lis watermark
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne delt 1795”
  • in dark brown ink
  • sheet, recto, lower centre
  • “Modern Bridge at Narni”
  • below the image, in brown ink over traces of pencil
Object Type

Modern Bridge at Narni, after Francis Towne
Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image)


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), on whose death it passed to Towne’s residuary legatee John Herman Merivale (1779–1844) and his successors. Merivale’s granddaughter Emily Harriet Buckingham (b.1853) inherited the drawing in 1915 and sold it early in 1923 to Thomas Girtin (1874/1875–1960). In February 1970 the drawing was with John Baskett, who sold it to Paul Mellon (1907–1999), who gave it to the present owner, the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1975.3.936; gift to Yale, December 1975).

Associated People & Organisations

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, December 1975, B1975.3.936
Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999), February 1970
John Baskett (1907), February 1970
Thomas Girtin (1874/75 - 1960), 1923
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923), 1915
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
The Girtin Collection, Royal Academy, 1962, no. 3
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 103, 148


This drawing is a version of figure 1.

Towne’s version was presumably made for his work as a drawing master, and a copy is known by one of his pupils, Lady Trelawny, dated 7 May 1804 (FT895b). Towne’s foliage, for example in the bottom left and right, is much neater than usual, and he has employed short dabbed hatchings with the brush that are rarely seen in his work but are close to “Warwick” Smith’s style.

circa 1792

Figure 1.
B. T. Pouncey after John “Warwick” Smith, Modern Bridge at Narni, circa 1792

Digital image courtesy of National Art Library

by Richard Stephens

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