Francis Towne The Source of the Rhine 1781

Artwork details

Francis Towne 1739–1816
The Source of the Rhine
Date 1781
Medium Ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 154 x 209 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

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This work dates from the period 1780-81, which Towne spent sketching in Italy before returning home via the Alps. Towne's method of working was to make a pencil outline on the spot, and later to go over it in ink, adding washes while the 'natural aspect was still fresh in his memory'. The ink lines have 'bled' slightly and were possibly still fresh when the wash was applied over them. The shadows are indicated with Indian ink applied in various dilutions once the washes had dried, in order to create sharply defined shadows.

August 2004

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