Unidentified circle of Towne
  • The Temple of Romulus, after Richard Wilson
No date
Pen and ink, watercolour
  • image height 152mm,
  • image width 203mm
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Christie's records (image)


Sold by the executors of Walter C. Hetherington of Gerrards Cross (dead by 1978) at Christie’s on 14 February 1978, lot 111, to Mrs Withycombe, as by Francis Towne.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection
Christie's, London, London, 14 February 1978
lot 111
Walter C. Hetherington ( - 1978), 1978


This composition derives from the 1776 book Twelve Original Views in Italy, drawn by Richard Wilson etched by Joseph Farington, Rooker &c. &c that Towne used quite widely in his teaching (see FT843, FT851, FT860). This unidentified pupil has copied a version of plate 7, engraved by James Gandon Jr. There are a number of differences between the pupil’s copy and Gandon’s engraving, however. For example, the drawing lacks all figures but the two foreground ones and omits the entire right-hand portion of the composition including the sky effect. It gives greater prominence to the small building to the right of the temple, and introduces a path in the right mid-ground not seen in the engraving. Such extensive reworking of Gandon’s engraving is unlikely to have been the work of an unsteady pupil being taught the compositional basics, but rather of the tutor himself. So it is likely that Towne himself made a version of the print on which this pupil based this drawing. This would also explain the pupil’s imitation of Towne’s wiry pen style, rather than of Gandon’s line. Towne himself is known to have copied from the 1776 book (FT803), no doubt again for the purposes of tuition.

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.