Friday, 26 February 2021

Francis Towne - part 6

  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 - 5 also.


This is part 6 of 10 part series on the works of Francis Towne:


1784 Bay of Naples
pencil and watercolour 38.9 x 62.2 cm
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, UK

1784 View from Sessa Aurunca
pen and ink, watercolour 38.7 x 62.9 cm 
Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, UK

c1784-85 View going over Mount Splugen
pencil and watercolour 49.5 x 58 cm 
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1785 A View looking towards Canonteign
pen and black ink, watercolour with gum 20.1 x 15.9 cm
The British Museum, London

1785 A View near the Arco Scuro looking towards the Villa Medici
pen and grey and brown inks, watercolour 32.5 x 48 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1785 A View taken at Killerton,
the Seat of Sir Thomas Acland, Bt
pencil, pen and grey ink, grey wash 30.5 x 49.5 cm

1785 Aberglaslyn
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 26.3 x 37.5 cm
Private Collection

1785 An Evening View from Mount Palatine looking towards Mount Aventine
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 32 x 47.2 cm
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter City Council, UK

1785 Bickham Farm, near Withycombe
pencil, pen and grey and black inks, grey wash 24.7 x 30.6 cm 
Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery), UK

1785 Chudleigh
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 20.3 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1785 Holnicote, Somerset, the Seat of Sir Thomas Acland
pen and grey ink, grey wash 30.5 x 48.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

1785 Lake Como
pen and grey ink, watercolour 31.5 x 49 cm

1785 Little Hangman, near Porlock
pencil, pen and black ink, grey and blue wash 16.4 x 21.4 cm
Private Collection

1785 The Claudian Aqueduct
pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour 32.2 x 47.2 cm
Yale Center for British Art,, New Haven, CT

1785 View of Porlock and Porlock Bay
pencil, pen and grey and black inks, grey and grey/brown washes 30.8 x 49.7 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1785 Walton Bridge
oil on canvas 39.9 x 78.1 cm 
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

c1785 Bay of Naples
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 40.4 x 88.5 cm
Manchester Museum & the Whitworth, University of Manchester , UK

c1785 Holnicote
oil on canvas 100 x 151 cm
Killerton House, National Trust , UK

c1785 Porlock Bay
pen and black ink, blue and grey washes 30.3 x 24.1 cm
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK

1786 A Mill near Holnicote
pen and black ink, watercolour 16.5 x 21 cm
Private Collection

1786 A View at Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour, gum 15.9 x 35.2 cm
Manchester Museum & the Whitworth, University of Manchester, UK

1786 A View at Ambleside, near Sir Michael Fleming’s on the Road to Keswick
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour with gum 15.7 x 47.5 cm
Tate, London

1786 A View from Low Wood
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour, on laid paper
15.9 x 23.7 cm
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

1786 A View in St John’s in the Vale looking towards Keswick
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour with gum 15.6 x 33.7 cm 
Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery), UK

1786 A View near Hornsey
pen and brown ink, watercolour 14.6 x 18.4 cm
Private Collection

1786 A View near the Turnpike on the Way from Low Wood to Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour, gum
15.6 x 47.4 cm 
Birmingham Museums Trust , UK

1786 A View of a Sepulchre
pen and grey ink, watercolour 32.1 x 47 cm

1786 A View of Coniston Water
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 15.9 x 47.6 cm 
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

1786 A View of Lake Windermere
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 15.2 x 47 cm
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens 

1786 A View of Rydal Water looking towards Rydal Hall
pen and ink, watercolour
Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum, Burnley, Lancashire, UK

1786 A View of the Temple of Venus looking towards the Island of Nisida
pencil and watercolour 33.3 x 48.9 cm
The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York 

1786 A View on the Banks of the Tiber near Monte Milvio
pen and grey ink, watercolour 31.4 x 45 cm 
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter City Council, UK

1786 A View taken at Ambleside at the Head of Lake Windermere
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 23.7 x 15.7 cm

1786 Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown ink 15.5 x 24 cm
Private Collection

1786 Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour, on laid paper
23.5 x 15.6 cm
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

1786 Ambleside, taken behind the Inn
pencil, pen and black and grey inks, watercolour, gum
15.7 x 23.6 cm
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, UK

1786 Bay of Naples
pencil and watercolour 40 x 61 cm
Tate, London

1786 Buttermere
pencil, pen and brown ink, blue and grey wash 15.3 x 23.6 cm

1786 Buttermere
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 15.2 x 47.2 cm
Private Collection


1786 Clappersgate, near Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour
 14.6 x 22.9 cm
Private Collection

1786 Coniston Water
pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour 15.5 x 47 cm
Wordsworth Trust, UK

1786 Elter Force, near Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour
 26.5 x 38.1 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

1786 Elterwater
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 15.6 x 47.7 cm
Wordsworth Trust, UK

1786 Grange at the head of Derwent Water
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour, scratching out
9.8 x 15.6 cm
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

1786 In St John’s in the Vale
pen and ink, watercolour, scratching out 15.6 x 23.5 cm

1786 In St John’s in the Vale
pencil, pen and grey and brown inks, watercolour
 15.6 x 23.5 cm 
Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence

1786 Killerton
pen and ink and watercolour 30 x 39 cm
Killerton House, National Trust, UK

1786 Lake Windermere from Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour with gum 15.1 x 47.3 cm
Birmingham Museums Trust, UK


1786 Lake Windermere from near Low Wood
pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour 15.6 x 47 cm 
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

1786 Lodore Falls
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour 49.5 x 41.9 cm

1786 Looking from Ambleside across Lake Windermere
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour with gum 15.6 x 23.8 cm
Collection of BNY Mellon, New York

1786 Loughrigg, near Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour, gum
15.6 x 23.6 cm
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge , UK

1786 Low Wood near Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 15.6 x 47.7 cm
Bolton Library and Museum Services, UK

1786 Near Ambleside
pencil, pen and grey and brown inks, watercolour and gum 15.7 x 23.8 cm 
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

1786 Near Rydal Hall
pencil, pen and brown ink, grey wash 23.5 x 15.6 cm

1786 On the Side of Lake Windermere, near the Turnpike
pen and brown ink, watercolour 9.6. x 15.5 cm 
Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery), UK

1786 Part of Ambleside
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 15.9 x 23.5 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1786 Part of Elter Force
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour with gum and scratching out 15.6 x 9.5 cm
Private Collection

1786 Raven Crag and Part of Thirlmere
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour and gum 15.6 x 23.5 cm
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK


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