Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A Distant View of Cader Idris
Pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 235mm,
  • image length 298mm
paper watermarked with a Fleur de lis design
  • sheet, verso
  • “No 15 a distant view of Cader Idris / July the 3rd 1777 / drawn on the spot by Francis Towne”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Paul Oppé records; Bury


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), on whose death it passed to Towne’s residuary legatee John Herman Merivale (1779–1844) and his successors. Merivale’s granddaughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP106) and they gave it in 1921 to their niece Dorothea, Lady Bunbury (b.1888, née Merivale; see also 247), who sold it on 10 May 1946 to Agnew’s (no.4613) for £30 with 247. On 12 July 1946 Agnew’s sold it for £45 less £2 5s. for services to Sir John Heathcoat Amory, Bt (1894–1972), in whose collection it still was in 1962, but it is now untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Sir John Heathcoat Amory (1894 - 1972), 12 July 1946, GBP 45, less £2.5s for services
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 10 May 1946, GBP 30, no.4613
Acquired with FT247
Lady Dorothy Bunbury (1888), 1921
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP106
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP106
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Loan Exhibition: English Watercolours and Drawings from Local Collections, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1949, no. 15
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 42
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 144


Cader Idris is the vast mountain that appears in Towne’s view near Dolgelly (FT077).

Paul Oppé’s note of this drawing reads: 

106 No 15 a distant view of Cader Idris / July the 3rd 1777 / drawn on the spot by Francis Towne. Brownish ink. 9¼ x 11¾ [235 x 298 mm] Fleur de lis Thick ink[?]. [. . .] on hills with cloud. Blue over dirty green. Clear but feeblish thin outline everywhere, even on hills. Clouds outlined over, across and under hills as in Swiss. Scarcely any incident. Picture by tones. Green, yellow, grey, and blue. Dirty and confused. Some mottling, some flat wash. Queer patch of road left grey, without outline on[?] a near hill, white[?] surround has a grey & green coat over it. Paint very wet.1
by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Paul Oppé records: notes, ca. 1915.

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