Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Head of Lake Geneva
Pencil, pen and brown ink, grey and blue washes
  • image width 263mm,
  • image length 379mm
wove paper
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.2 / Francis Town”
  • in brown ink
Object Type
Monochrome wash

The Head of Lake Geneva from Vevey, after Francis Towne
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 (1779–1844) 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 (BP79 or 81). In 1936 Judith Merivale sold it to Squire Gallery for £8. It was acquired by Agnes Lupton (1874–1950) and Norman Darnton Lupton (1875–1953) of Hyde Crook, Dorchester, Dorset, who bequeathed it to the present owner, Leeds City Art Gallery (13.205/53).

Associated People & Organisations

Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, 1953, 13.205/53
Agnes Lupton (1874 - 1950), Dorchester, 1936
Norman Darnton Lupton (1875 - 1953), Dorchester, 1936
Squire Gallery, London, 1936, GBP 8
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP79 or 81
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP79 or 81
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Watercolours and Drawings from the City Art Gallery, Leeds, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1960, no. 44
The Lupton Collection, Leeds City Art Gallery, 1972, no. 77
Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds Art Calendar, No. 26: Leeds, 1954, p. 13
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 132
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 98
William Coxe, Travels in Switzerland in a Series of Letters to William Melmouth Esq, T. Cadell: London, 1789, vol 2, p. 74


As Wilcox showed in his 1997 Tate catalogue, this is the left-hand portion of a three-sheet panorama that Towne drew on 11 September. The other two sheets are FT375 and FT376 (fig.1); all three are numbered 2. The view looks south from near Vevey over Lake Geneva towards the mountains of Savoy. At the left of the central sheet is the end of the Rhône valley, down which Towne would have travelled to reach Martigny and Chamonix. John White Abbott copied this panorama (FT832) as well as another, now lost, that Towne made nearby (FT378, the copy is FT833). A further view of the same subject, but from a somewhat different viewpoint, was made on 13 September (FT379).


Figure 1.
Francis Towne, FT374, FT375 and FT376 assembled together, 1781

Coxe described the view of the lake from Vevey as being of greater interest than from Geneva, which may explain Towne’s focus:

The borders of this part of the lake are much more contrasted, wild and picturesque, than those about Geneva: the mountains of the Vallais and Savoy boldly project into the water, and form a semi-circular chain that encloses the lake, except where they are divided by the Rhone; which flows into it a few leagues from Vevay.1
by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Coxe 1789, vol.2, p.74.

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