View of Lake Como with Monte Legnone

Francis Towne British

Not on view

Towne traveled to Italy in 1780–81 and experimented with watercolor in ways that influenced the medium’s expressive development. As he headed home via the Italian lakes, he made these studies, dated August 27, from a boat on Lake Como, leaving fingerprints in the wet pigment along the lower edge of one sheet, its composition centered on a sunlit hillside backed by distant mountains. The other work is more claustrophobic, showing sheer gray cliffs plunging into the lake before the cloud-topped peak named Monte Legnone. The abstracted quality of Towne’s work results from patches of subtly modulated watercolor edged with lines of ink. Other sheets from the related sketchbook are preserved at Tate Britain and the Yale Center for British Art.

View of Lake Como with Monte Legnone, Francis Towne (British, Isleworth, Middlesex 1739–1816 Exeter), Pen and brown ink and watercolor

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.