- Museum number
Ariccia, formerly part of an album; wide road in foreground surrounded by thick woods with dome of church and other roofs rising behind. 1781
Watercolour with pen and black ink outlines
- Production date
Height: 321 millimetres
Width: 468 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- From album NN,03.1-17
See Nn,1.1 for information about the Towne albums as a whole.
Exhibited at the BM, 1982 (no catalogue, extended labels). An oil painting of the same subject measuring 13 1/2 by 19 1/2 inches, signed and dated 1784, from the collection of James Curtis was with Spink, Summer 1972 (see Octagon, IX, 2).
Ariccia, a small town in the Alban Hills to the south of Rome, was a resort for Romans and visitors seeking to escape the summer heat of the city. As Towne's annotation indicates, early morning sunlight is shown striking the foreground and cupola of Bernini's S. Maria dell'Assunzione, while the dark olive-green trees still retain their coolness.
By comparison with drawings made at the outset of his visit to Rome in the autumn of the previous year, the bold pattern and simplified and contrasted masses of colour in this view of Ariccia show the development of Towne's highly personal manner. Striking though such drawings are, however, their exaggerated stylisation (e.g. in the all-purpose convention for foliage) and emphasis on compositional pattern-making tend to obscure the individual qualities of the place represented.
Shown at Towne's one-man exhibition in London, 1805. See Tim Wilcox, 'The Triumph of Watercolour', exh. cat., Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2005, no. 3 and p. 45.
The following label was written by Richard Stephens for the Towne exhibition in 2016:
Most of Towne's customers were based in Devon but in 1784 the London brewer James Curtis, a close associate of the family of William Pars, ordered a copy of this view which depicts the church of S Maria dell'Assunzione at Ariccia near Lake Albano.
Although this watercolour was not mounted until at least 1804, it lacks any significant reworking and its spare elegance made it one of Towne's most celebrated in the 20th century.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1936 BM 'Canaletto to Constable', no no.
1955 Jan-Feb, Norwich Castle Mus, English Watercolours, no.13
1958 Apr, BM, Eight centuries of landscape ... water-colours, case 57
1972-3 Oct-Jan, Munich, Haus der Kunst, 'Das Aquarell 1400-1950', no.143
1974 Jun-Aug, Kenwood, 'British artists in Rome 1700-1800', no.142
1982 BM P&D, 'Francis Towne and John 'Warwick Smith', no cat.
1982 Sep-Nov, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 'Artists in Rome', no. 207
1983 Mar-May, Manchester, Whitworth AG, 'Most Beautiful Art of England', no. 3
1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours, no.36
1988 Oct-Dec, Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery, 'Travels in Italy', no. 74
1991 Jan-Mar, Ohio, Cleveland Mus of Art, English Watercolours, no. 16
1991 Mar-June, N Carolina Mus of Art, English Watercolours, no. 16
2005 Feb-April, London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Triumph of Watercolour, no. 3
2005 May-Aug, Manchester, Whitworth AG, Triumph of Watercolour
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: 1973,U.1348