Francis Towne
The Source of the Arveyron 1781

Artwork details

Francis Towne 1739–1816
The Source of the Arveyron
Date 1781
Medium Ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 310 x 212 mm
Acquisition Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
Not on display

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.

September 2004