Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Landscape with a Foot Bridge
  • The Foot Bridge
1773 - 1780
Pencil, pen and black and brown inks, watercolour, on laid paper
  • image width 178mm,
  • image length 229mm
on laid paper
mounted by the artist on laid paper now measuring 285 x 345mm but which has been cut
  • sheet, recto
  • lower left, "F.Towne delt 1780" in brown ink
  • artist's mount, recto
  • lower left "F.Towne delt 1780" in pencil, and lower right "1773" also pencil, but perhaps in a different contemporary hand
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object


Untraced until acquired by Martin Hardie (1875–1952) in 1924 (according to museum files). It was acquired from Colnaghi’s by Paul Mellon (1907–1999) in December 1961 and given by him to the current owner, Yale Center for British Art (B1977.14.5955; gift to Yale December 1977).

Associated People & Organisations

P&D Colnaghi & Co, London
Martin Hardie (1875 - 1952)
Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999)
Yale Center for British Art


This drawing is similar in technique to the Lydford waterfall of 1780 (FT163). The meaning of the 1773 date is unclear, although just possibly the drawing was begun then—even perhaps mounted— and received some further work in 1780. Certainly the loose, loopy pen lines in the tree on the far left and in the area surrounding the building are far closer to the 1773 Ugbrooke at Eton (FT036) than studies dated to 1780, such as those for the Haldon Hall and Teign Valley oil paintings (FT153 and FT155).

It may be coincidence, but the partly wooded low hill with houses at its foot, approached from a stream and field, is very broadly similar to the landscape depicted from a somewhat greater distance in a view of Totnes and Dartington (FT634). The trees and bridge frame a rural cottage, and there is a strong sense of homecoming in the path leading over the bridge and across the field to the buildings. This drawing is the graphic equivalent to pastoral poetry in praise of Devon and the rural life, such as that contained in the commonplace book in the Beinecke Library at Yale (shelfmark Osborn d.237).

by Richard Stephens

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.