Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Towards the Head of Lake Como
Pencil (?), pen and grey and brown inks, watercolour, scratching out
  • image width 155mm,
  • image length 211mm
mounted by the artist on paper watermarked with an ornamented fleur-de-lis with a pendant "E&P" monogram typical of paper made c.1795-1805 by Robert Edmeads and John Pyne of Ivy Mill, Maidstone.
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “No.30. F.Towne / delt. 1781”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.30 / light from the left hand / Towards the Head of the Lake of Como / Drawn by Francis Towne / August 27th. 1781” and, bottom left, “290”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image); Bower 1998


Probably originally the property of Arthur Champernowne (1768–1819), whose great-grandson Arthur Melville Champernowne (1871–1946; see Comment at FT602) sold it at Sotheby’s on 27 April 1911, lot 274 (with FT584), to Paul Oppé (1878–1957; no.104), whose descendants sold it in 1996 with the rest of Oppé’s collection to the present owner, the Tate Gallery (T08556).

Associated People & Organisations

Tate, London, 1996, T08556
Adolph Paul Oppé (1878 - 1957), London, 27 April 1911, no.104
Sotheby's, London, London, 27 April 1911, lot 274
Arthur Melville Champernowne (1871 - 1946)
Arthur Harington Champernowne (1768 - 1819)
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 123, 124, 125 or 126 as 'Towards the head of the Lake of Como'
Catalogue of a collection of pictures, drawings, furniture and works of art of the Empire and Regency period : select examples of Romano-British art, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1929, no. 7
76th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1949, no. 20
L'Aquarelle anglaise 1750-1850, [organised by the British Council at] Musee Rath, Geneva; L'Ecole Polytechnique Federale, Zurich, 1955, no. 110
Exhibition of Works from The Paul Oppe Collection, Royal Academy, 1958, no. 83
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 145
Peter Bower, 'Drawing Paper in the 18th and 19th centuries: Papers from the Opp_ Collection, part 2', The Quarterly Journal of the British Association of Paper Historians: [?] London, 1998, p. 19


It is not clear what the number 290 signifies, although it seems to be in Towne’s hand.

by Richard Stephens

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