Monday, 8 March 2021

Francis Towne - part 10

   Francis Towne (1739 - 1816) was born in Isleworth, Middlesex. In 1752 he was apprenticed to a leading coach painter in London, Thomas Brookshead. In 1759 he won a design prize from the Society of Arts, and studied for a while at St Martin’s Lane Academy. .In 1763 Towne was employed by a coach painter called Thomas Watson in Long Acre, and went to Exeter on business, where he soon settled. He had already begun painting in oils and also taught drawing, and now he began to accept commissions from wealthy families in Devon. After a tour of north Wales in 1777 he began to specialise in watercolours.

He remained an obscure figure until the early 20th century, so that the collector Paul Oppé was able to acquire numbers of important works very cheaply. Oppé was greatly impressed, especially with Towne's elegant and somewhat stylised early manner, which chimed with trends in English painting at the time, "the taste of our own century for flat colourful pattern-making", as Andrew Wilton put it in 1993. After making contact with descendants of Towne's student and friend, John Herman Merivale, Oppé discovered a collection of largely unseen works which Towne had bequeathed to Merivale. He catalogued the works and published an article about the artist in a 1919 volume of the Walpole Society journal. These writings helped to create a revival of interest in Towne, and more works began to appear on the market. By the 1950s he was widely recognised as an important figure and his works were owned by many museums, especially the British Museum and the Yale Centre for British Art. A  catalogue raisonné of the artist's work is published by the Paul Mellon Centra for Studies in British Art.


For more information on Towne’s life and works see part 1. 

For earlier works see parts 1 - 9 also.


This is part 10 of 10 part series on the works of Francis Towne:



1813 Sketchbook:


1813 At Oxford
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 26.3 x 17.7 cm
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK

1813 Christ Church, Oxford
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.6 x 26.2 cm
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK

1813 Clovelly
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.7 x 51.8 cm
Leeds Art Gallery, UK

1813 Clovelly
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 26 x 17.8 cm
Private Collection

1813 Dunsmore, an Estate of James White Esq.
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour

1813 Hillsborough at Ilfracombe
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.5 x 23.2 cm

1813 Kenilworth Castle
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.6 x 26 cm

1813 Kenilworth Castle
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 18 x 25.5 cm

1813 The Old Schools, Radcliffe Camera, and the Entrance to Trinity College Gardens
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.5 x 31.3 cm
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK

1813 Tiverton
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.8 x 40.4 cm
Cooper Gallery, Barnsley, UK

1813 Warwick Castle
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.5 x 51.4 cm
Private Collection

1813 Worcester College, Oxford
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.8 x 26.2 cm
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK


1815 Sketchbook:


1815 A View from the Flagstaff in the Citadel
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 45.6 cm
Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage), UK

1815 At Dunsford Bridge
pencil, pen and grey and dark grey inks, watercolour
 22.9 x 14 cm
Private Collection

1815 At Plymouth
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm
Private Collection

1815 Bickleigh Vale from Plym Bridge
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm

1815 Bickleigh Vale
pencil, pen and dark grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.5 cm
Private Collection

1815 Bickleigh Vale
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 23.5 cm
Private Collection

1815 Dunsford Bridge
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour (size not found)
Private Collection

1815 Fort Olda with Part of the Abbey, Tavistock
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm
Private Collection

1815 Holly Street, Chagford
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14.1 x 23.4 cm
The Courtauld Gallery, London

1815 Mrs Culme’s Cottage, Tothill
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 13.6 x 22.9 cm

1815 Part of Plymouth below the Hoe
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm
Plymouth City Council, UK

1815 Peakhill, Sidmouth
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 46 cm
Private Collection

1815 Plymouth
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 24 x 23.5 cm
Private Collection

1815 Salcombe Cliffs near Sidmouth
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm

1815 Shaugh
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm
Private Collection

1815 Sidmouth, Salcombe Cliffs
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour (size not found)
Private Collection

1815 Sutton Pool and Nunnery, Plymouth
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm
Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage), UK

1815 Tavistock
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm
Private Collection

1815 The Cattewater
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour (size not found)
Private Collection

1815 The Dewerstone
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 14 x 45.6 cm
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

1815 Tothill
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm
Private Collection

1815 Tothill
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 14 x 22.9 cm
Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence

n.d. A View looking up the River Exe
oil on canvas? 116.8 x 167.6 cm
Private Collection

n.d. A View near Exwell, looking towards Topsham
pencil, pen and grey ink, grey wash 27.3 x 48.3 cm
Private Collection

n.d. A View of Part of Roche Rock
pencil, pen and grey and brown inks, watercolour
 23.6 x 36.4 cm
The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

n.d. A Waterfall 
pen and brown ink, grey wash 19.7 x 15.3 cm
Private Collection

n.d. Bath
pen and ink, watercolour 17.8 x 31.8 cm
Private Collection

n.d. Castle of Ischia
pencil and watercolour 19.7 x 27.3 cm

n.d. Cockwood from the North Gate
pen on paper

n.d. Foliage Study
pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour 19.7 x 15.9 cm
Museums Sheffield, UK

n.d. Hagar and the Angel (after Rosa Salvator)
pencil, pen and grey ink, brown and blue washes
 25.2 x 17.4 cm
Private Collection

n.d. Italianate Landscape
pencil, pen and brown wash, watercolour
Private Collection

n.d. Landscape Composition
pen and grey ink, watercolour 20.6 x 28.6 cm

n.d. Landscape Composition
pen and ink, grey wash 24.8 x 18.4 cm

n.d. Landscape Composition
pencil, pen and black and brown inks, brown washes
 12 x 19 cm
Private Collection

n.d. Landscape Composition
pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour 15.6 diameter
Private Collection

n.d. Landscape with Cattle
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 19 x 26 cm
Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford, UK

n.d. Landscape with Jacob and Laban
oil 71.7 x 120.7 cm
Private Collection

n.d. Llyn Cwellyn
pen and ink, watercolour, scratching out 19.7 x 26.7 cm

n.d. Maentwrog
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour with gum, scratching out 27.8 x 21.7 cm
Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery), UK

n.d. Poughill, near Bude, Cornwall
pen and grey ink, watercolour 13.7 x 21.3 cm
Private Collection

n.d. Sheep (after Nicholas Berchem)
pen and ink, watercolour 18.4 x 13.6 cm

n.d. Totnes and Dartington
pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour 20.3 x 25.4 cm

n.d. Tree Study
pen and ink, watercolour 37.1 x 21.8 cm
University of Liverpool Victoria Gallery & Museum, UK

n.d. View at Rome – Afternoon
oil on wood 46.7 x 66 cm
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter City Council, UK


n.d. View at Tivoli – Morning
oil on wood 47 x 65.5 cm
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter City Council, UK

n.d. Werrington Park
pencil, pen and black and brown inks, grey/brown, blue/grey, and green washes 24.4 x 33.7 cm
Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, CT

n.d. Tree Study
pencil, pen and grey ink 36.5 x 21.6 cm