Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Landscape
Pencil, pen and light grey, brown and black inks
  • image width 410mm,
  • image length 316mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “Francis Towne / delt 1783”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Francis Towne delt. 1783”
  • not written by Towne but perhaps by Francis Abbott (b.1801)
Object Type
Outline only

Tree Study
Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; 1990 Eton catalogue (image)


Until 1951 the drawing was owned by Rosetta Dobson (1892–1965), great-granddaughter of John White Abbott. On 26 November 1951 Mrs Dobson sold the drawing to the Fine Art Society (no.5806) for £25 and the Fine Art Society sold it (at an unknown date, but in or before 1968 and probably in the early 1950s) for £100 to Alan Douglas Pilkington (1890–1973), who gave it in 1972 to the current owner, Eton College (Pi190/291).

Associated People & Organisations

Eton College, Windsor, 1972, Pi190/291
Alan Douglas Pilkington (1890 - 1973), GBP 100
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 26 November 1951, GBP 25, no.5806
Rosetta Frances Dobson (1892 - 1965)
John White Abbott (1763 - 1851), 1825
Exhibition History
Treasures of Eton College Library, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1990, no. 236
Paul Oppé, 'John White Abbott', Walpole Society Journal: London, 1925, p. 75


There is so much fact and incident in this study—and none of the plainness and Italian formality of Towne’s imaginary compositions—that it is probably of an actual scene, at Canonteign, Chudleigh, or some other favoured spot. This may be the view of Ugbrooke dated 1783 that Agnew’s file records as having been owned by a Mrs Dobson, but that is otherwise unknown. The intricate study of two intertwining trees, to which John White Abbott was so devoted, may explain its ownership by his family, if not by White Abbott himself. This may well be one of the “two drawings by Towne, landscape compositions in the neatest of pen-work” that Oppé noted in the collection of Mrs White Abbott in the 1920s.1

Another version of this drawing is at the Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield (FT636).

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Oppé 1925, p.75.

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