- Museum number
View of the Colosseum from the Palatine, formerly part of an album; arch of Constantine on left and Baths of Titus on right, with the Colosseum in centre, foreground covered in shrubs and small trees, mountains in right distance. 1781
Pen and grey ink and watercolour
- Production date
Height: 312 millimetres
Width: 464 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- From album NN,02.1-32
See Nn,1.1 for information about the Towne albums as a whole.
Towne's viewpoint here is almost exactly the same as that in 'Warwick' Smith's large watercolour of the Colosseum. Although somewhat unusually for Towne he has not inscribed this watercolour 'drawn on the spot' or given the time of day at which he made it, there is not sufficient evidence to doubt that it was drawn on the spot.
The following label was written by Richard Stephens for the Towne exhibition in 2016:
Although Towne has given this drawing a date of 1781, on the mount he inscribed a date of 'Octr. 30th 1780' before scratching that out and replacing it with the year '1781'. Even so, the delicate penwork and the Colosseum's distant treatment are consistent with the earliest phase of Towne's Rome studies. The frequent revisions to Towne's dates may reflect the lengthy periods during which he worked on any given work.
Towne extended this view with a further section on a separate piece of paper intended to be joined to the right edge of the watercolour. This would have broadened the view to include part of the Claudian Aqueduct and the Esquiline Hill behind it, as 'Warwick' Smith had done in the watercolour he made from this spot, which is displayed on the far wall of the gallery. Ultimately, though, Towne decided on a different approach and did not use this sheet.
Towne made a copy of this watercolour in 1799 for Arthur Champernowne.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1981, BM P&D, 'Francis Towne and John 'Warwick Smith', no cat.
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.618