- Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
- A View of Oakhampton Castle and Town
- Pen and black ink, grey wash
- image width 200mm,
- image length 321mm
- mounted by the artist
- artist's mount, recto, centre
- “A VIEW OF OAKHAMPTON CASTLE AND TOWN TAKEN IN THE PARK”
- in grey ink
- artist's mount, recto, lower left
- in grey ink
- artist's mount, recto, lower right
- in grey ink
- artist's mount, verso
- “A View of Oakhampton Castle and Town/ in the County of Devon/ drawn on the spot June 22nd 1772/ by Francis Towne.”
- Object Type
- Monochrome wash
- Catalogue Number
- Description Sources
- Author's examination of the object
Museum's own information
This drawing is untraced until 23 April 1963 when it was acquired for £100 from the John Nicholson Gallery, New York, by the Mass Gallery, London (W3262), which on 3 March 1964 sold it to Agnew’s (no.3974). On the same day Agnew’s sold it to Sir John Heathcoat Amory, Bt (1894–1972). On 16 January 1967 Heathcoat Amory sold it back to Agnew’s (no.6677), where it was bought the same day (March 1967 according to Yale’s file) for £500 by Paul Mellon (1907–1999), who gave it to its present owner, the Yale Center for British Art (B1975.4.1415; gift to Yale, December 1975).
- Associated People & Organisations
- Thomas Agnew & Sons
- Sir John Heathcoat Amory (1894 - 1972)
- Maas Gallery, London
- Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999)
- John Nicholson Gallery, New York
- Yale Center for British Art
- Exhibition History
- [?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 6 as 'Okehampton Castle'
- [?] Loan Exhibition of Works by Early Devon Painters Born Before the Year 1800, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1932, no. 71 as 'Okehampton Castle (Indian Ink) 7 1/2 x 12 1/2ins, lent by Miss Merivale'
- 94th Annual Exhibition of Watercolours and Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1967, no. 43
- Richard Stephens, 'New Materials for Francis Towne's Biography', The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, No. 1121, Burlington Magazine Publications Ltd: London, 1996, pp. 503, 504
- Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, pp. 35-36
Around the same time that Towne made the two Oakhampton views, Richard Wilson was working on two commissions from Lord Courtenay to paint Oakhampton Castle and Lydford waterfall, following a sketching trip to Devon in August 1771. In both pictures Wilson has abandoned his usual compositional framework to give a more direct account of the scenery. However, an Oakhampton Castle painting that Wilson probably exhibited in 1774 is very similar in composition to Towne’s drawing. It is certainly tempting to link the two men, and presumably Wilson’s painting is based on his 1771 visit to the small society of Exeter, which surely came to the notice of Towne, whose paintings about that time were produced under Wilson’s influence. As Wilcox has suggested,3 probably Towne was indeed in Wilson’s debt, and the latter artist had already used the same compositional format, based on Dughet, in paintings of Dinas Bran.4
- 1 eds Todd Gray and Margery Rowe, Travels in Georgian Devon: The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete, Devon Books in association with Halgrove: Tiverton, 1997, vol 1, p.21 .
- 2 See Benjamin Donn, A Map of the County of Devon, Devon and Cornwall Record Society and the University of Exeter: Exeter 1965, plates 6a and 6b.
- 3 Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p.36.
- 4 William George Constable, Richard Wilson, Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1953, figs 36a and 36b; David H. Solkin, Richard Wilson, Tate Publications: London, 1982, p.238. The prime version was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1771.
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