Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne’s Watercolors of Rome

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Jenny Uglow writes, “[Francis] Towne (1739-1816), who spent most of his career in Exeter, with visits to his native London, has always been one of my favorite eighteenth-century watercolorists, for his flowing outlines and luminous skies. I particularly love his paintings of the English Lake District, which I know well: while other artists drew unrecognizable crinkly crags and fussy foliage, Towne caught the curve of the fells and the gleam of the water in a way that set him apart. For years he was ignored, but although critics and art-historians now recognize his talent, many people still don’t know his name. So it’s exciting to see viewers bowled over by the current exhibition of his paintings from Rome, selected from the amazing archive of the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of his death, and curated by Richard Stephens.”

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