Francis Towne

The Source of the Arveyron

1781

Medium
Ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 310 x 212 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
Reference
T08147

Display caption

The river Arveyron is a short tributary of the river Arvea and rises from the base of the Glacier des Bois in Chamonix. In this watercolour, Towne virtually disregards traditional perspective, and gives an almost abstract vision of the landscape. Swiss subjects had already been treated by a few English artists before Towne's own visit to the Alps in 1781. Towne was, however, the first artist to emphasise the visionary grandeur of the landscape at the expense of artistic convention.

Gallery label, September 2004

Tate Etc.

Lure of the wild

The artist Francis Towne’s near abstract eighteenth-century watercolours of Swiss glaciers were to inspire Eric Ravilious more than a century ...

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