Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View of Machynlleth
  • Mackynlleth in ditto [ie North Wales]
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour
  • image width 215mm,
  • image length 280mm
mounted by the artist on paper with an indistinct watermark
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “No10 / F.Towne delt June 28. 1777”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.10 / A View of Machynlleth North Wales / drawn by Francis Towne”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum 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 Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (“Machynllyth June 1777 framed JAM”, no BP number given, listed between FT521 and FT533). The drawing remained with the Merivales until at least 1932, when it was exhibited, and perhaps until Judith Merivale’s death in 1945, as no note of its sale exists in the Barton Place catalogue. On 11 January 1961 it was bought by Agnew’s (no.1030) from Mrs L. S. Robinson (see also 102) and on 15 March 1961 it was bought by the current owner, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Associated People & Organisations

Fitzwilliam Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 15 March 1961, PD.4-1961
Thomas Agnew & Sons, 11 January 1961, no.1030
L. S. Robinson, 1961
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, no BP number given
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, no BP number given
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. 26 as 'Mackynlleth in ditto [ie North Wales]'
Loan Exhibition of Works by Early Devon Painters Born Before the Year 1800, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1932, no. 119
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 130
Henry Penruddocke Wyndham, A Tour Through Monmouthshire and Wales Made in the Months of June and July 1774 and in the months of June, July and August 1777: Salisbury, 1781, pp. 104-105


This is a view of Machynlleth from the east. Towne is clearly travelling westwards into the town on the main coast road along the Dovey valley, and will have just passed through the village of Penegoes, birthplace of Richard Wilson.

Wyndham described the view of Machynlleth Towne has drawn: 

Machynlleth lies, not unpleasantly, in a small verdant plain. The mountains closely surround it, the summits of which are rarely free from the clouds, and whose shade deprives the town of even half that influence, which the sun sparingly sheds over this irregular county. This is the extreme west angle of Montgomery shire.1

As with other mounted drawings, Towne has worked up and tidied the foreground.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Wyndham 1781, pp.104–5.

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