Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Buttermere
Pencil, pen and brown ink, blue and grey wash
  • image width 153mm,
  • image length 236mm
paper watermarked with a Strasburg Lily design
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.39. Buttermere August 22nd 1786. 1 O Clock light from the right hand / F.Towne”
  • in ink and “light from the right hand 1 O Clock” in pencil
Part of
  • Partially-disbound sketchbook sold by Judith Merivale to H. B. Milling of Squire Gallery
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Christie’s records (image); Paul Oppé notes


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 An Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 within a partially disbound sketchbook containing FT455, FT462, FT470, FT471, FT472, FT475, FT476, FT477, FT478, FT480, FT494, FT495, FT496. In February 1945 Judith Merivale sold the book to H. B. Milling of Squire Gallery for £25. Later the drawing was owned by Joseph Hawksley Elliot of Sheffield (1884–1978), whose daughter sold it at Christie’s on 14 March 1978, lot 83, for £2,200 to Anthony Reed, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Anthony Reed (20th century), London, 14 March 1978, GBP 2200
Christie's, London, London, 14 March 1978, lot 83
Joseph Hawksley Elliot (1884 - 1978), Sheffield
Horace Bernard Milling (1898 - 1954), London, February 1945, GBP 25
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 122


This is a view of Buttermere a little closer to the water’s edge than FT494. It was on a page in the 1786 sketchbook after FT494 and before FT496. All three of these works were unfinished, with preparatory coloured washes only.

by Richard Stephens

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