Merivale Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Francis Towne and an Unidentified Pupil: A View of Launceston from Newport
No date
Pen and brown ink, watercolour
  • image width 222mm,
  • image length 387mm
mounted by the artist
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources


Bequeathed by the artist to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), then to Towne’s residuary legatee John Herman Merivale and his successors. It descended to Merivale’s granddaughter Frances Ann Laura Solly (b.1858). According to a note on the back of the drawing written by Paul Oppé on 9 August 1949, “This drawing was among those left by Towne to the Merivale Family. I saw it first with Mrs Solly at Exeter, one of the Merivale family. I took it to be Pars or an older drawing, perhaps Dutch.” At some point—and perhaps in 1949, which would explain why Oppé was called on to give an opinion then—it entered the collection of Sir Bruce Ingram, whose collector’s mark (Lugt 1405a) is on the back of the mount. It was offered for sale at Christie’s on 11 July 1989 and at Taylor’s of Honiton on 11 December 1998. It was sold at Lawrence’s of Crewkerne on 15 April 2011, lot 1785, as “circle of William Pars” to Abbott & Holder of Museum Street, London.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection
Abbott and Holder Ltd, London, 15 April 2011
Lawrence of Crewkerne, Crewkerne, 15 April 2011, lot 1785
Sold as 'circle of William Pars.'
Taylor's, Honiton, Honiton, 11 December 1998
Christie's, London, London, 11 July 1989
Sir Bruce Stirling Ingram (1877 - 1963), 9 August 1949
Frances Ann Laura Solly (1858 - alive in 1932), Exeter
Paul Oppé first saw it with Mrs Solly at Exeter, one of the Merivale family.
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844)


Although not sold as Towne’s work and considered by Oppé to be by Pars or a Dutch artist, the pen work is in Towne’s characteristic style. The trees covering the hill beyond the main road are all outlined individually in an identical manner to another Werrington drawing (FT614), whose buildings are also described in the same way as the buildings in the far distance in this view. The figures are also characteristic (compare with FT466, FT585a). The pen line is largely obscured, however, by blotchy washes that seem ineptly, and probably incompletely, applied. The assumption here is that these are not Towne’s work.

by Richard Stephens

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