Friday, 5 March 2021

Francis Towne - part 9

  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 - 8 also.


This is part 9 of 10 part series on the works of Francis Towne:



1810 Sketchbook:


1810 Brent Bridge, Devon
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 165 x 25 cm
Private Collection

1810 Bridge at Worcester, and the Malvern Hills
pencil, pen and brown and black ink, watercolour 16.5 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1810 Bridge near the Lodge at Saltram
pencil, pen and grey ink (?), grey and blue washes 17.1 x 25.4 cm

1810 Devil's Bridge
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour 25.4 x 17.1 cm
Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, CT

1810 Durham
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 51.1 cm
Private Collection

1810 From the Window of the Inn at Aberystwyth
pencil, pen and grey ink, blue, brown and grey washes 16.8 x 25.3
The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

1810 Ivy Bridge
pencil, pen and grey ink, brown and grey washes 16.8 x 25.4 cm

1810 Landscape
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 15.9 x 24.8 cm
Private Collection

1810 Mount Batten and Mount Edgcumbe from Teat’s Hill, near Plymouth
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17 x 51 cm
Private Collection

1810 Near Devil’s Bridge, Cardiganshire
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.1 x 25.4 cm

1810 Near Devil’s Bridge, Cardiganshire
pencil, pen and grey ink, brown ink applied by brush, watercolour 17.1 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1810 Near Gloucester
pencil, pen and grey ink, blue, grey, and yellow washes
17.1 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1810 Near Gloucester
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour 17.1 x 25.4 cm

1810 Near Radnor
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour 17.1 x 26 cm
Private Collection

1810 New Radnor
pencil. pen and ink, watercolour 17.1 x 25.4 cm

1810 Part of Mount Edgcumbe
pencil, pen and ink, blue and grey washes 17.1 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1810 Plymouth from Mount Edgcumbe
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour 17.1 x 25.4 cm

1810 Plymouth
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 16.8 x 25.1 cm
Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, CT

1810 Plymouth
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour 16.8 x 25.4 cm
Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence

1810 Plymouth
pencil, pen and ink. watercolour 17.1 x 54 cm
Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence

1810 The Breidden Hills going from Shrewsbury to Welshpool
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour 17.1 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1810 The Forest of Radnor and the Black Mountains
watercolour 17.1 x 50.6 cm
The Courtauld Gallery, London

1811 Sketchbook:


1811 Arthur’s Seat from the Meadows
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1811 Durham
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 51 cm
Private Collection

1811 Durham
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 51.1 cm
Private Collection

1811 Durham
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 50.8 cm
Private Collection

1811 Edinburgh Castle & Calton Hill
pencil and watercolour 17.2 x 51 cm
Scottish National Gallery

1811 Edinburgh Castle & Heriot’s Hospital
pencil and watercolour 17.2 x 25.3 cm
Private Collection

1811 Edinburgh Castle
pencil and watercolour 17.2 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1811 Edinburgh from Leith
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 51.2 cm
Private Collection

1811 Heriot’s Hospital, Edinburgh
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 25.5 cm

1811 Newton Cottage with Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Cragg
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1811 Pentland Hills, Edinburgh
pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour 17.2 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1811 Salisbury Craggs from the Dalkeith Road
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1811 The Firth of Forth with the Island of Inchkeith
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 25.4 cm

1811 Windsor Castle from a lane near Clewer
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 25.4 cm
Private Collection

1811 Windsor Castle from Clewer
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 51.2 cm

1811 Windsor Castle from the Grounds of Eton College
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 51 cm
Private Collection

1811 Windsor Castle from the Grounds of Eton College
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 17.2 x 51 cm
Private Collection

1812-1815 Sketchbook:

1811 Near Dulwich College
pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour 11.5 x 18.5 cm
Private Collection

1811 Near Dulwich College
pencil, pen and grey ink, grey wash 11.1 x 18 cm
The Courtauld Gallery, London

1812-15c Landscape
pencil, pen and light- and dark-grey inks, watercolour
11.2 x 18.4 cm

c1812-15 Windsor Castle
pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour 10.3 x 17.7 cm
Private Collection

c1812-15 Windsor Castle
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 11.4 x 17.8 cm
Royal Collections Trust, UK

1813 From the West India Dock Blackwall looking towards the Royal Naval College, Greenwich
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 10.8 x 17.8 cm
Private Collection

1813 From the West India Docks, Blackwall
pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour 10.8 x 18.1 cm

1813 On the Topsham Road
pen and ink, blue/grey wash 11.1 x 18.4 cm
Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence

1813 Starcross
pen and ink, watercolour 11 x 18 cm

c1813 Devon Estuary View
pen and ink and blue wash 11 x 18 cm

c1813 From the Heathfields Seat, Lympstone
pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour 11.4 x 35.6 cm
Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, UK

c1813 The Mouth of the Exe
pencil, pen and ink, grey wash 11.4 x 17.8 cm
Private Collection

1815 Fordland
pen and wash 10.8 x 18.4 cm
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1815 Near St David's Hill, Exeter
pencil. pen and grey ink, watercolour 10.5 x 18 cm

c1815 Near Exeter
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour 11.2 x 18.4 cm
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

*         *         *         *         *

n.d. Werrington Park
watercolour 18.2 x 23.2 cm
 Private Collection

n.d. A Mill
pencil and watercolour 21 x 28.5 cm

n.d. A View by Moonlight
pen and grey ink, watercolour 15.9 x 19.7 cm
Tate, London

n.d. A View in Peamore Park near Exeter
pen and ink, watercolour 27.9 x 43.2 cm 
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK



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