Towne's realistic, yet almost graphic, landscape painting depicts a waterfall in the Lake District with intensity and drama. Wind blown trees lean over the fast flowing water while two barely discernible figures provide a sense of scale.
Waterfall near Ambleside
38 x 26.5 cm
Pen and ink and watercolour on paper
Date of work
Francis Towne was an English painter who began to paint in oils at the age of 14. In the late 1750s he returned to Exeter and set up as a drawing-master where he became firmly established as a painter of landscapes and country houses. In autumn 1780 Towne travelled to Rome via Geneva; the clarity of his watercolour style was especially suited to depictions of Roman architecture. He moved to London, marrying Jeannette Hilligsberg, a dancer, but she died the following year. In 1809 he toured Devon and Cornwall. Towne created a powerful and idiosyncratic style but, as a Devon-based painter, had little influence on the London artistic mainstream and was largely forgotten until the 1930s, when his spare, geometric work was hailed as revolutionary for its time.