Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View of Bridgnorth Castle, Shropshire
  • Bridgnorth Castle in Shropshire
Pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 215mm,
  • image length 276mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne / delt / No.1”
  • sheet, verso
  • “drawn on the spot by Francis Towne No.1 20th June 1777”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.1, A View of the Ruins of Bridgnorth Castle in Shropshire, drawn on the spot, 20th June 1777”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Leger records; Christie’s records (image)


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 Misses Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP100). The drawing was sold in ca. 1936 to or through Agnew’s either by them or by B. Merivale, presumably their cousin Bernard. From ca. 1936 to 1940 and probably until the 1970s it was in the collection of Professor Geoffrey Emett Blackman of Oxford University (1903–1980). It was sold at Christie’s on 5 March 1974, lot 102, where it was bought for £3,000 by Leger Galleries and sold on in November 1974, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Untraced, November 1974
Leger Galleries, London, 5 March 1974, GBP 3000
Christie's, London, London, 5 March 1974, GBP 3000 , lot 102
Professor Geoffrey Emett Blackman (1903 - 1980), Oxford
From ca. 1936-1940 and probably until the 1970s
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 1936
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP100
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP100
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 19 as 'Bridgnorth Castle in Shropshire'
Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour & Pencil Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1936, no. 82
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 48


Bridgnorth in Shropshire is east of Birmingham, from where Towne and White probably began their journey into Wales. Most of the twelfth-century castle was destroyed in the Civil War, leaving only the leaning tower that Towne depicts. Although BP100 was described in the Barton Place catalogue as undated, it was also called “Bridgnorth No.1” so is fairly certainly this drawing. Paul Oppé noted that BP100 and BP101—Bridgnorth and Wenlock—were not available when he made his notes of the drawings in the possession of the Misses Merivale in ca. 1915.

by Richard Stephens

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