Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View taken at Killerton, the Seat of Sir Thomas Acland, Bt
Pencil, pen and grey ink, grey wash
  • image width 305mm,
  • image length 495mm
paper with a vertical crease down its centre
  • sheet, verso
  • “A View taken at Killerton the Seat of Sir Thomas Acland Bart / Drawn on the Spot by Francis Towne Octr. 21st 1785 / looking towards the South-West / Morning light from the left hand”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Agnew'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 Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP197). In June 1937 Judith Merivale sold it for £6 to Squire Gallery, who sold it to Colnaghi (no.9444), who sold it on 7 July 1943 to James Leslie Wright of Warwick (1862–1954). In 1948 it was on sale at Spink and in 1999 at Agnew’s, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 1999
Spink & Son, London, London, 1948
James Leslie Wright (1862 - 1953), 7 July 1943
P&D Colnaghi & Co, London, London, no.9444
Squire Gallery, London, June 1927, GBP 6
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP197
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP197
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Masters of Maritime Art. A Second Loan Exhibition from the Collection of Capt. Bruce S. Ingram OBE MC, P&D Colnaghi, London, 1937, no. 16
Annual Exhibition of Watercolours, Spink & Sons, 1948
English Watercolours and Drawings: Agnew's 126th Annual Exhibition, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1999, no. 12
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 132


Killerton is an estate near Broadclyst, five miles or so north-east of Exeter. It was owned by the Aclands until 1944 when it passed to the National Trust. The house was built 1778–80 by the Essex architect John Johnson, and the gardens were created by John Veitch from 1771. Towne’s view, on the banks of the River Culm a little west of Killerton, shows the ruins of Columb John, which, prior to 1680, had been the main Acland residence. Towne’s watercolour, based on this sketch, is dated 1786 (FT449a).

by Richard Stephens

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.