Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • At Ambleside coming from the Cascade in the Groves
Pencil, pen and brown and grey inks, watercolour with gum
  • image width 263mm,
  • image length 381mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F Towne / delt 1786”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “A View at Ambleside coming from the Cascade in the Groves / at the Head of the Lake of Windermere / drawn on the Spot by Francis Towne / August 1786 / NB the paper this is drawn on I brought from Rome / myself”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Sotheby’s 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 granddaugher Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853–1923) inherited the drawing in 1915 and in 1932 it was owned by her sister Frances Ann Laura Solly (b.1858). In 1948 the drawing was on sale at Walker’s Galleries (where it may have been bought by Mrs E. M. Young, as by 1952 it was described as ex coll. Mrs Solly and Mrs Young), and it was owned by Henry Charles Green (1883/84–1966) by 22 February 1952, when he sold it at Christie’s, lot 101, for £273 to Agnew’s (no.6815) on behalf of Captain Vivian Bulkeley-Johnson (1890/91–1968) of The Mount, Oxfordshire. It was sold by The Mount Trust Collection at Christie’s on 14 November 1972, lot 93, for £4,800. It was sold at Sotheby’s on 19 November 1981, lot 115, for £3,200, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 19 November 1981, GBP 3200
Sotheby's, London, London, 19 November 1981, lot 115
Private Collection, 14 November 1972, GBP 4800
Christie's, London, London, 14 November 1972, lot 93
Mount Trust Collection
Captain Vivian Bulkeley-Johnson (1890/91 - 1968), 22 February 1952
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 22 February 1952, GBP 273, no.6815
Christie's, London, London, 22 February 1952, lot 101
Henry Charles Green (1883/84 - 1966), 1952
[?] Mrs E. M. Young, 1948
Walker's Galleries, London, 1948
Frances Ann Laura Solly (1858 - alive in 1932), 1932
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923), 1825
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. 95 as 'At Ambleside coming from the Cascade in the Groves'
Loan Exhibition of Works by Early Devon Painters Born Before the Year 1800, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1932, no. 115
unidentified exhibition, Walker's Galleries, 1948, no. 126
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 94
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 109


As Towne’s inscription indicates, this is a view looking towards Ambleside on the way back to town from Stock Ghyll Force. Towne is looking west-north-west towards Rydal in the left horizon and part of Fairfield Horseshoe in the centre distance. The long building on the left is probably the Salutation Inn; the buildings in the centre on the far bank of the river are Horrax Bobbin Mills. The inn also features in Towne’s smaller view of 14 August (FT479). A further work, FT519, may be of much the same spot.

Paul Oppé saw this in Emily Buckingham’s collection on 16 July 1915, noting “Ambleside N.B.drawn on Roman paper” and the “yellow sunset sky”, and he considered it “very well composed & brilliant in colour”.1

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Paul Oppé records.

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.