Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Looking towards Newton
ca. 1778 - 1780
Pencil, pen and grey and black inks, grey wash
  • image width 354mm,
  • image length 570mm
laid paper with watermark "I VILLEDARY" with fleur de lis design, the paper has a vertical crease down its centre, and a horizontal crease along its length, roughly 120mm from the top edge
  • verso
  • "Looking towards Newton / Painted a Picture for Thomas Taylor of Denbury / 1780"
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Looking towards Newton
Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object


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 (BP179). On 12 April 1946 Judith Merivale’s executors sold the drawing to Agnew’s (no.4550) and on 18 January 1949 it was sold for £36 15s. to Sir Robert Clermont Witt (1872–1952), who bequeathed it to its present owner, the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (D.1952.RW.4064).

Associated People & Organisations

Thomas Agnew & Sons
Courtauld Gallery, London
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844)
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945)
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928)
James White (1744 - 1825)
Sir Robert Clermont Witt
Exhibition History
74th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1947, no. 147
76th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1949, no. 79
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 59
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 101


This drawing dates from the very late 1770s or 1780 and is similar in style to preparatory drawings of that period made for Lord Courtenay. It is a study for an oil painting dated 1780 (FT156). The paper and its creases are similar to FT136. It is typical of drawings Towne made in the late 1770s in preparation for finished paintings or watercolours, which were in contrast to the briefer studies he used earlier in the decade (such as FT021, FT022).

by Richard Stephens

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