Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Hillsborough at Ilfracombe
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour
  • image height 175mm,
  • image width 432mm
two sheets
  • sheet, verso
  • “Ellisborough at Ilfracombe September 7th. 1813”
Part of
  • 1813 Sketchbook
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Agnew's 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. On 5 November 1974 Colnaghi’s sold it for £400 to Agnew’s (no.3692), who sold it on 17 January 1975, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 5 November 1975
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 5 November 1974, GBP 400, no.3692
P&D Colnaghi & Co, London, November 1974
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. 82
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 143


Ilfracombe is on the north Devon coast just west of Combe Martin.1 Hillsborough (or Ellisborough) is the large peak at the centre right of Towne’s picture. During the early nineteenth century Ilfracombe became a fashionable resort. Reflecting its new popularity, two leading artists visited Ilfracombe from London around the period of Towne’s own visit and drew Hillsborough: William Daniell in the summer of 1813 (published in 1814) and Joseph Farington in 1810 (published in 1822).

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Donn 1965, pl.2a.

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