Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Ambleside, taken behind the Inn
Pencil, pen and black and grey inks, watercolour, gum
  • image width 157mm,
  • image length 236mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne delt. 1786 / No.22”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No.22 / Ambleside. taken behind the Inn head of the Lake of Windermere. Westmoreland / drawn on the spot by Francis Towne / [“August 14th. 1786” scratched out] / London / [“Leicester Square / July 6th. 17. . .” scratched out]. / Evening light from the / right hand 7 O Clock”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image)


Owned by Francis Alexander Gustavus Skardon Douglas (active 1927, d.1957), a descendant of John White Abbott, who sold it on 3 September 1946 to Agnew’s (no.4751), from whom it was bought on 2 May 1947 for £40 by the present owner, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (Inv. K.1684/Acc. 26/1947).

Associated People & Organisations

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol, 2 May 1947, GBP 40, Inv. K.1684/Acc. 26/1947
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 2 May 1947, no.4751
Francis Alexander Gustavus Skardon Douglas (active 1927 - 1957)
John White Abbott (1763 - 1851)
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 67 as 'Ambleside', 72, as 'Part of Ambleside', or 75, 83 or 91 as 'At Ambleside'
unidentified exhibition or display, 1966
unidentified exhibition, 1974
Autumn unidentified exhibition, Bristol, 1976
unidentified exhibition or display, 1977
unidentified exhibition, 1983
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 137
Peter Bicknell, The picturesque secenery of the Lake District, St Paul's Bibliographies: Winchester, 1990, p. 189


This is a view of Stock Ghyll, a fast-flowing tributary of the River Rothay, which powered several Ambleside mills, looking broadly west over the top of Ambleside to Loughrigg. Towne drew a similar Ambleside scene on one of the large sheets of Italian paper (FT518), and a further drawing now at Ulster Museum (FT519), although not inscribed as an Ambleside view, may be from the same area. The inn Towne refers to was known as the Salutation (now the Best Western Salutation Hotel); given the late hour of Towne’s sketch and his repeated visits to the Groves, it is likely that he and his party were residents there. The inn was rated positively by one visitor of 1782:

A very good inn called the Salutn. Reasonable Charges & good Accommodation. The Visitors to Keswick should return hither to sleep. Mr. Geo. Bond the Landlord gets drunk about three times a Week [. . .] He shewed us the Waterfall at the Groves, & a View from a Hill near the Village.1

The hill is perhaps the one from which Towne drew FT456, as it was very near Stock Ghyll and the inn.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Bicknell 1990, p.189.

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