Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Madonna San Giacomo in Chiavenna
ca. 1781/08/28
Pencil (?), pen and grey ink, monochrome washes
  • image width 273mm,
  • image length 457mm
paper watermarked “C&I HONIG”
  • sheet, verso
  • “Madonna San Giacomo in Chiavenna Evening Sun from the right hand August the 28th. 1781. No.13”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Leger Galleries records; Christie'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 (BP57). According to the Barton Place catalogue, in January 1936 Judith Merivale sold the drawing to Squire Gallery for £3, but if so, it must have been reacquired or otherwise returned to her, as on 12 April 1946 Judith Merivale’s executors sold the drawing to Agnew’s (no.4548), where on 23 April 1946 it was acquired for £85 less commission of £4 5s. by Sir William Worsley, Bt (1890–1973), whose heirs sold it at Christie’s on 20 November 1984, lot 73, to Leger Galleries for £6,000, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Christie's, London, London, 20 November 1984, GBP 6000, lot 73
Sir William Worsley (1890 - 1973), 23 April 1946, GBP 85
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 12 April 1946, no.4548
[?] Squire Gallery, London, January 1936, GBP 3
According to the Barton Place catalogue
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP57
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP57
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 141
Sir William Worsley, Early English Water-Colours at Hovingham Hall: 1963, p. 10


The drawing shows the Lira valley, up which Towne travelled on his way over the Splugen Pass. The title might refer to the church of the Madonna di Gallivaggio in the valley or else perhaps a chapel in S. Giacomo, a village a few miles north of Chiavenna.

by Richard Stephens

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