- Museum number
View from the Palatine Hill, SS Giovanni e Paolo, Rome, formerly part of an album; courtyard in foreground with ruined brick arches behind wall on left and houses and hill beyond. 1780
Brush drawing in grey and brown wash and watercolour with pen and black ink outlines
- Production date
Height: 317 millimetres
Width: 471 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- From album NN,02.1-32
See Nn,1.1 for information about the Towne albums as a whole.
The 'Memoirs' of Thomas Jones, who lived in Italy from 1776 to 1783, record numerous sketching expeditions in Rome and the surrounding countryside in the company of J.R. Cozens, William Pars and 'Warwick' Smith. To judge from the Roman watercolours by Smith and Towne now in the British Museum, these artists would go on sketching expeditions together and there exist several examples of the same subject, apparently drawn on the same occasion. That one artist did not simply copy the other can be seen quite clearly by comparing their watercolours which show that they placed themselves at different points (1936,0704.24). Here, Towne appears to have been seated lower down the Palatine than Smith, who drew a more panoramic view.
The church of SS Giovanni e Paolo was built above the house of these two saints, murdered by Julian the Apostate in 361 AD. At the left of Towne's watercolour is the fragment of the Claudian Aqueduct which is the subject of 1972,U.624.
The following label was written by Richard Stephens for the Towne exhibition in 2016:
This scene was at the centre of the historical district most frequented by artists and Grand Tourists. Part of the Colosseum is visible in the far left corner, behind the Claudian Aqueduct.
Although in later years Towne reinforced the original shading of many of his Italian studies of 1780-1, watercolours such as this, which escaped those revisions, retain a freshness and vitality often drowned out by the heavier washes added to other watercolours.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1981, BM P&D, 'Francis Towne and John 'Warwick Smith', no cat.
1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours, no.32
2016, Jan-Aug, BM, 'Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne's watercolours of Rome' (no catalogue)
- Laid down on original wash-lined mount.
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1972,U.613