Francis Towne

Naples and Capri

1786

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 407 x 613 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
Reference
T08195

Display caption

Towne was one of a pioneering generation of watercolour artists who endowed the medium, traditionally associated with rather humble, descriptive artistic work, with a new sense of ambition. In 1780–81 he travelled in Italy, sketching the landscape. On his return he received commissions for watercolours based on these observational sketches, of which this one. The sense of abstract design and the clarity of his watercolours were highly innovative, but Towne remained based in Devon working as a drawing teacher. His work was rediscovered and promoted by the collector AP Oppé in the 1930s.

Gallery label, February 2016

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