Towne used this sketchbook during his summer excursion of 1815 around Devon. This sketchbook was inscribed “Plymouth etc 1815” on the cover, and inside dated “Aug 5 1815” and inscribed “31 Devonshire St Portland Place”. Paul Oppé’s note reads: “Plymouth etc. 1815 Aug 5 1815 address as 4 [i.e. the 1812–15 sketchbook, the fourth book Oppé described] numbers recur. sign. full inscr. & hour. weak hand. Chagford Aug 28 Tavistock Tothill Plymouth Sept. Bickley Vale. Sidmouth. dates disappear Rather feeble.” Drawings from the 1812–15 sketchbook show that Towne was in Exeter on 18 August 1815 (FT745) and visiting James White in Fordland just west of the city the following day (FT746, FT747). By 28 August he—probably they—were in Chagford, where Towne made the first drawing in this 1815 sketchbook (FT765). From Chagford Towne made his way west across Dartmoor to Tavistock on 29 August (FT766, FT767, FT768) and down to Plymouth the following day. The next week’s drawings are all of Plymouth itself (FT769, FT772, FT779, FT780, FT781, FT782), of its immediate surroundings (FT770, FT771, FT774, FT783, FT784), or of countryside a few miles north (FT773, FT775, FT776, FT777, FT778). Towne moved east along the south Devon coast to Sidmouth, where he made three further drawings (FT785, FT785a, FT786).

The Misses Merivale gave this sketchbook to their cousin Mary Ann Loveband, who sold it to Agnew’s in 1938. In recording the sketchbook pages then, Agnew’s followed Towne’s numbered sequence so far as it is now known, and their list is assumed to provide an accurate indication of the arrangement of the entire book.


Article title
1815 Sketchbook
Article DOI
Cite as
"1815 Sketchbook", A Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739-1816), (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016),

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