Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • On the Palatine Hill
  • On the Palatine Mount
  • Ruins and buildings on the Palatine
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour with gum
  • image width 319mm,
  • image length 471mm
laid paper
mounted by the artist with paper watermarked "J WHATMAN"
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne. del / Rome No26. 1781”
  • in brown ink
  • verso
  • indistinct
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.26 / On Mount Palatine Febry 5 1781 [the date in dark brown ink over an identical date that has been scratched out] / Rome. Francis Towne. delt.”
  • 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.2.32).

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. 174, 175, 176, 177 or 178 as 'On the Palatine Mount'
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. 125


The precise location of this view is uncertain, although just possibly the building in the mid-ground is the Church of S. Sebastiano, in which case the ruin on the left would be the Domus Augustana. The tree in the middle looks rather out of place and was perhaps added much later than 1781. There is little pen work in this drawing, in contrast to many others of the Roman series. The tall tree is indicated with brush strokes characteristic of Towne’s watercolour technique of the later 1780s and 1790s (for example FT560, FT591).

by Richard Stephens

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