Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Moorland Landscape
ca. 1774 - 1777
Pencil, pen and black and brown inks, grey wash
  • image width 303mm,
  • image length 488mm
paper watermarked with “I.Villedary”
  • sheet, verso
  • colour notes in pencil
Object Type
Monochrome wash

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 reverted 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 (BP217) and sold it to Squire Gallery in April 1935 for £7 7s., where that same month it was bought by Leonard Duke (D324) for £9. He sold it to Colnaghi in or before 1944, when it was given by Kent Kingdon Trustees to the present owner, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (15/1944.1).

Associated People & Organisations

P&D Colnaghi & Co, London
Leonard Duke (1889 - 1971)
Kent Kingdon Trust
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844)
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945)
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928)
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery
Squire Gallery
James White (1744 - 1825)
Exhibition History
Loan Exhibition: English Watercolours and Drawings from Local Collections, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1949, no. 10
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 78
Treasures of the Exeter Museums: Centenary Exhibition, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1969, no. 124
Paintings and Drawings by Francis Towne and John White Abbott in the collection of Exeter Museums and Art Gallery, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1971, no. 13
Francis Towne & John White Abbott: Paintings and Watercolours from the Exeter Museums and Art Gallery, Marble Hill House, 1973, no. 13
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 133
Jane C. Baker, Catalogue of Oil Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Sculpture, Exeter Museums: Exeter, 1978, p. 118


On the basis of style this is a drawing created prior to the Welsh tour of 1777. The foreground rocks are drawn and washed in much the same way as in a 1777 drawing of Pistyll Rhaeadr (FT071), and the watermark is also associated with early drawings and Wales (for example FT084FT087). The location is not known although it is probably in Devon and, if so, it may depict the area around Tor Bay (for comparison see FT882). Baker suggests that it is of Dartmeet. In his manuscript catalogue Duke suggested that it was a Welsh view,1 but in the Barton Place catalogue Paul Oppé called it “North Devon Landscape”. It could be either.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings.

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