Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Naples
Pencil, pen and grey and black inks, watercolour, scratching out
  • image width 330mm,
  • image length 237mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.10 / Naples / March 24, 1781 / Francis Towne”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object

Museum's own information


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 (1853–1923) inherited the drawing in 1915 and on 24 May 1921 she sold it for £25 to Agnew’s (no.9957), for onward sale the same day (for £350 with FT072, FT074, FT086, FT108, FT111, FT260, FT366, FT469 and FT504) to the present owner, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (1921P94).

Associated People & Organisations

Thomas Agnew & Sons
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923)
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844)
James White (1744 - 1825)
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Selected Watercolour Drawings by Artists of the Early English School, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1921, no. 34
L'Aquarelle anglaise 1750-1850, [organised by the British Council at] Musee Rath, Geneva; L'Ecole Polytechnique Federale, Zurich, 1955
An Exhibition of English Drawings and Water Colours from British Collections, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1962, no. 79
De Englese Aquarel uit de 18de Eeuw, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Albertina, Vienna, 1965, no. 124
Peintures et Aquarelles 1700-1900 du Musee de Birmingham, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, 1966, no. 119
Two Centuries of English Painting, National Gallery, Prague; National Slovak Gallery, Bratislava, 1969, no. 136
British Drawings and Watercolours, [organised by the British Council in] China, 1982, no. 22
British Watercolours and Drawings from Rowlandson to Riley [organised by The British Council and presented by The Edinburgh Festival], The Royal Scottish Academy, 1982, no. 23
British Watercolours from Birmingham, Tokyo and tour, 1991
British Watercolours from Birmingham, Bankside Gallery, 1992, no. 25
Stephen Wildman, Fifty Watercolours from Birmingham, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery: Birmingham, 1987
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 135
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 111
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, pp. 58, 70


With Vesuvius in the distance directly across the Bay of Naples, this view must have been drawn in the vicinity of Posillipo, which Towne and Jones visited on 24 March 1781.1 FT236 is also dated 24 March, and FT231 was no doubt made on the same day.

On the near shore two boats are outlined in pencil but not pen, and two figures on the road are similarly treated. 

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Jones 2003.

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