Francis Towne

Monte Cavo, I


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Francis Towne 1739–1816
Watercolour and ink on paper
Support: 246 × 385 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

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.

Gallery label, April 2007

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