Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Part of the Palatine Hill
ca. 1781/02/09
Pencil, watercolour
  • image width 471mm,
  • image length 321mm
laid paper watermarked "WHATMAN"
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne delt / Rome. No28”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.28. / Part of the Palatine mount. Feby 9th 1781 [the date over scratched-out “Feby 8th 1781”] from 10 till 12 O Clock / Rome Francis Towne. delt.”
  • in brown ink
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object


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.1.02).

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, pp. 76, 125
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 110


The subject of this drawing cannot be identified with complete certainty, but it seems likely that it depicts a detail of the ruined Severan arcades at the southern end of the Palatine Hill. The arcades can be seen in the background of FT199. Like Towne’s Colosseum views (for example FT192, FT195), this shows an awareness of Piranesi’s etchings of top-lit ruins with overgrowth and fallen masonry.

by Richard Stephens

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