Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Berry Pomeroy Castle in Devon
ca. 1773 - 1780
Pen and ink, watercolour, gum
  • image width 305mm,
  • image length 483mm
two sheets
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne”
  • artist's mount, verso
  •  “No.3 Berry Castle in the county of Devon, / The outline taken on the spot. / Francis Towne / Finished Oct 2nd, 1805”
  • the final phrase 'Finished...' perhaps scratched out, as it was only revealed during cleaning of the drawing in the 1990s.
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object

Museum's own information

Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', Walpole Society, 8, 1920


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), on whose death it reverted to Towne’s residuary legatee John Herman Merivale (1779–1844) and his successors. Merivale’s granddaughter Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853–1923) inherited the drawing in 1915 and on 12 April 1940 it was sold by her sister Frances Ann Laura Solly (b.1858) to Agnew’s (no.3065; Bonham’s in 2012 cited an Agnew’s no.10173) for £20. On 24 June 1940 Professor John Malins (1915–1992) bought the drawing from Agnew’s for £35 and it descended through his family to a private collection in Montreal, Canada, from which it was sold at Bonham’s, London, on 12 July 2012, lot 3, for £22,500 including fees (estimate £5,000 to £7,000) to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Associated People & Organisations

Thomas Agnew & Sons
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923)
Professor John Malins (1915 - 1992)
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Frances Ann Laura Solly (1858 - alive in 1932)
James White (1744 - 1825)
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 150
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 108
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 39


Oppé writes of this drawing that “it is obviously quite an early Devonshire sketch worked up into a violent atmospheric and colour effect at a later date. It is explicitly distinguished on the mount as an ‘Outline drawn on the spot’, and the date has been erased on both sides.”1 Besides the inscription indicating that the drawing was completed in 1805 (which may only have become apparent when the drawing was restored in the 1990s), the lateness of this work is clear from the broody sky (compare with FT269) and the use of gum in the trees. Based on Oppé’s comment, it has been placed in this catalogue next to the 1775 drawing (FT050), but the date of its inception is impossible to determine with precision.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Oppé 1920, p.108.

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