Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Town of Lugano on the Lake
Pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, brown, blue, and grey washes
  • image width 268mm,
  • image length 452mm
laid paper watermarked “C&I HONIG”
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.4 / Town of Lugano on the Lake / Evening light from the left hand breaking / on the buildings morning from the right / August the 24th. 1781”
  • in black ink over pencil, except “No.4” and “breaking on the buildings”, which are in brown ink only, and “Town of”, which is brown ink over pencil. The inscription is upside down in relation to the drawing
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Town of Lugano on the Lake
Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Christie's records (image)


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), on whose death it passed to Towne’s residuary legatee John Herman Merivale (1779–1844) and his successors. Merivale’s granddaughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP46). In 1931 Judith Merivale sold it for £10 to E. P. Merivale, presumably her sister-in-law Elizabeth Phoebe Merivale (1862/1863–1945). In 1947 it was acquired from Spink by Sir William Worsley, Bt (1890–1973;) for £80 and was sold by his heirs at Christie’s on 5 June 2003, lot 39, for £60,000, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 5 June 2003, GBP 60000
Christie's, London, London, 5 June 2003, lot 39
Sir William Worsley (1890 - 1973), 1947
Sir William Worsley bought it from Spink
Spink & Son, London, London, 1947
Elizabeth Phoebe Merivale (1862/63 - 1943), 1931, GBP 10
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP46
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP46
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
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. 4
Watercolours by Francis Towne, City Art Gallery, 1950, no. 20
Itinerari Sublimi, viaggi d'artisti tra il 1750 e il 1850, Museo Cantonale d'Arte, 1998, no. 239
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 88, 142
Sir William Worsley, Early English Water-Colours at Hovingham Hall: 1963, p. 10


A copy of this drawing was made by John White Abbott (FT822). Towne’s own later version of this work is dated 1787 (FT536). An untraced work (FT345) may also be based on this sketch.

Towne’s drawing shows the view from the monastery of S. Maria degli Angioli, famous for its frescoes by Bernardino Luini, which perhaps Towne went to see.

See also the Comment at FT306.

by Richard Stephens

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