- Museum number
The Tarpeian Rock, Rome, formerly part of an album; a town built on and around the rock, with figures walking along a path towards the town. 1781
Watercolour, with pen and grey ink on two joined sheets of paper.
- Production date
Height: 409 millimetres
Width: 470 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- From album NN,01.1-25
See Nn,1.1 for information about the Towne albums as a whole.
In ancient Rome the Tarpeian Rock was used as a place of execution for criminals, who were hurled from the precipice. The rock rises on the south-east flank of the Capitoline, overhanging the present-day Piazza della Consolazione. The houses which Towne shows on top of the Tarpeian Rock were removed and excavations of the site took place in the 1930s. The church on the left is probably S.Maria della Consolazione.
The following label was written by Richard Stephens for the Towne exhibition in 2016:
The Tarpeian Rock was the place where ancient Roman convicts were thrown to their death. However, Miss Berry, who visited in 1784, suggested the scene was not very threatening: 'I believe one might almost be thrown with impunity, the lower part is so much raised and the upper part so much sunk.' As he had already signed the larger sheet, the strip at the bottom of this drawing was a later addition to enhance the plummeting foreground at the foot and sense of the drop from the top.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1981 BM P&D, 'Francis Towne and John 'Warwick Smith', no cat.
2001 Apr-Jul, Paris, Grand Palais, 'Paysages d'Italie', no.20
2016, Jan-Aug, BM, 'Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne's watercolours of Rome' (no catalogue)
- Laid down in original wash lined mount
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1972,U.634