Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Clovelly
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour
  • image height 177mm,
  • image length 518mm
two sheets
  • sheet, verso
  • “No9 / Clovelly Septr 10th 1813”
Part of
  • 1813 Sketchbook
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum 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 (1745–1844) 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 as part of a sketchbook containing FT752 to FT764, which they sold in 1927 to Walker’s Galleries for £60. It was bought there by Sir Michael Sadler (1861–1943) and presented by him in 1931 to the current owner, Leeds City Art Gallery (4.1/31).

Associated People & Organisations

Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, 1931, 4.1/31
Sir Michael Ernest Sadler (1861 - 1943)
Walker's Galleries, London, 1927, GBP 60
Within a sketchbook containing FT752 to FT764.
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
Exhibition History
24th Annual Exhibition of Early English Watercolours, Walker's Galleries, 1928, no. 83
Watercolours and Drawings from the City Art Gallery, Leeds, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1960, no. 46
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 132
Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds Art Calendar, No. 26: Leeds, 1954, p. 12


Clovelly is on the north Devon coast some twenty miles south-west of Ilfracombe (FT759).1 The trees Towne has made so prominent were a noted element of the local landscape: “The cliffs immediately about it are so loaded with them, and their branches and leaves are so interlaced and matted together, that they form one close and compact mass, as impervious as a jungle of blackberry bushes.”2

Bury and the museum records describe the inscription given above as in a later hand, but if that is the case, it is surely only a transcription of Towne’s own words.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Donn 1965, pl.1b.
  2. 2 Ayton 1814, pp. 41–42.

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