Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Lynton Rocks
ca. 1783/08
Pencil (?), pen and ink, monochrome wash
  • image width 222mm,
  • image length 337mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “Lynton Rocks” and an early pencil inscription, “A.b”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Sotheby'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 (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 (BP209). In February 1935 Judith Merivale sold it to Squire Gallery and in 1951 it was owned by Louis Crispin Warmington of Eastbourne (d. ca. 1961/62). The drawing was sold at Sotheby’s on 22 November 1961 to Walker’s Galleries for £80, where it was purchased by Walter Augustus Brandt (1902–1978), whose family offered it for sale at Sotheby’s on 7 July 2011.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection
Sotheby's, London, London, 7 July 2011
Walter Augustus Brandt (1902 - 1978), 1961
Walker's Galleries, London, 22 November 1961, GBP 80
Sotheby's, London, London, 22 November 1961
Louis Crispin Warmington ( - ca. 1961/62), Eastbourne, 1951
Squire Gallery, London, February 1935
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP209
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP209
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 47


This drawing shows the Valley of Rocks at Lynton on the north Devon coast, a few miles west of Combe Martin. The view looks westward over Wringcliff Bay to Duty Point. The headland in the distance is Highveer Point and the rock on the right is Castle Rock.1 The rocks became a celebrated landmark in the late eighteenth century. 

The drawing is undated, but it was probably drawn in August 1783 when other north Devon coastal works of the same size were made.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Information provided by Brian Pearce of the Exmoor National Parks Authority, email correspondence, December 2005

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