- Museum number
Arch and debris in a ruin on the Palatine, formerly part of an album; ruins of arch on left with broken arches beyond, fragments lying in foreground, with plants growing around them. 1781
Brush drawing in grey and brown wash, with watercolour, over graphite
- Production date
Height: 471 millimetres
Width: 321 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- From album NN,01.1-25
See Nn,1.1 for information about the Towne albums as a whole.
The following label was written by Richard Stephens for the Towne exhibition in 2016:
Although Towne's watercolours often feature a heavy pen outline, this was only one of several styles he deployed - albeit these outlines dominated his practice until the late 1780s. Towne's Roman sketches began as pencil outlines over which he brushed the water-based paint that added colour and shape.
Here, however, Towne chose not to reinforce his pencil outline with a pen. He was perhaps working under the guidance of John 'Warwick' Smith, a younger artist though with more experience of life as an artist in Rome. Smith's large watercolours, several of which are displayed on the far wall, show with what freedom he painted when he was not required to organise his watercolours around the strict boundary lines that were necessary when using a pen outline.
At the end of the 18th century artists were encouraged to give up using pen outline in their commissioned work, as the fashion for more painterly watercolours meant that they commanded higher prices. Whilst Towne continued to work with pen and ink outline in the sketches he drew on the spot, the versions of these sketches that he created later for his clients were often painted in watercolour alone.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2016, Jan-Aug, BM, 'Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne's watercolours of Rome' (no catalogue)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1972,U.722