Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Tivoli
Pencil, pen and grey ink, grey wash
  • image width 368mm,
  • image length 495mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “1781 May 15 5 o’clock in the morning, light coming from the sun rising over the mountains strong on 4 vapour thin against F of the cascades / second mountain darker than the olive trees, & trunks of the trees dark against the mountains, the herbage of the cave in its lights a / clear bright green olive tree greyer” and numbered “16”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Christie's records (image)


Owned by Francis Alexander Gustavus Skardon Douglas (active 1927, d.1957), a descendant of John White Abbott, who sold it on 28 August 1946 to Agnew’s (no.4724). On 17 January 1947 Agnew’s sold it for £100 less £5 commission to Sir William Worsley, Bt (1890–1973), whose family sold it at Christie’s on 20 November 1984, lot 68, for £7,500, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 20 November 1984, GBP 7500
Christie's, London, London, 20 November 1984, lot 68
Sir William Worsley (1890 - 1973), 17 January 1947, GBP 100
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 28 August 1946, no.4724
Francis Alexander Gustavus Skardon Douglas (active 1927 - 1957)
John White Abbott (1763 - 1851)
Exhibition History
Watercolours by Francis Towne, City Art Gallery, 1950, no. 14
Three Centuries of British Water-colours, Arts Council, 1951, no. 187
Early English Water Colours, Leeds City Art Gallery, 8 October 1958 to 23 November 1958, no. 98
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 142
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, pp. 73, 86
Sir William Worsley, Early English Water-Colours at Hovingham Hall: 1963, p. 11


Towne drew another Tivoli drawing “from 3 o clock till 6” (FT261) on the same day that he made this sketch.

by Richard Stephens

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