Francis Towne
Monte Cavo, I 1781

Artwork details

Francis Towne 1739–1816
Monte Cavo, I
Date 1781
Medium Watercolour and ink on paper
Dimensions Support: 246 x 385 mm
Acquisition Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

This is one of two watercolours Towne made of Monte Cavo, the highest mountain in the Alban Hills, to the south of Rome. Unlike many of his other Italian watercolours, in which colour is contained within a tighly controlled line, here Towne paints more freely, in order to capture the subtle play of light on the verdant mountain. The watercolour is inscribed on the reverse, ‘Italy No 53. The Spot where Hannibal is said to have lookd at Rome from. Drawn by Francis Towne on the spot 1781’ .Although Towne’s watercolour is based upon direct observation, his choice of motif is clearly determined by his knowledge of the classical past.

April 2007