Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Naples
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour, scratching out
  • image width 322mm,
  • image length 233mm
laid paper watermarked with Heawood's design no.3462
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.9. / Naples / March 24. 1781 / Francis Towne.”
  • in pen and grey ink, the name in brown ink
Object Type

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 (BP32). Herbert Milling of Squire Gallery visited Judith Merivale in November 1933 and expressed an interest then in buying this drawing, but did not, and the work descended through the family (probably via Judith Merivale’s nephew Herman Walter Merivale [b.1898]) to Dr Walter Herman Hodgson Merivale (ca. 1918–1971; see also 106, 458, 468, 481, 512, 581), who sold it on 24 October 1966 with 106 to Agnew’s (no.6501). On 16 January 1967 Agnew’s sold it for £950 to Paul Mellon (1907–1999), who gave it to the current owner, the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1975.4.1416; gift to Yale, December 1975).

Associated People & Organisations

Thomas Agnew & Sons
Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999)
Herman Walter Merivale (1898)
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844)
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945)
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928)
Dr Walter Herman Hodgson Merivale (ca. 1918 - 1971)
James White (1744 - 1825)
Yale Center for British Art
Exhibition History
Annual Water Colour Exhibition 1926, The Judge's Lodgings, Winchester, 1926, no. 119
94th Annual Exhibition of Watercolours and Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1967, no. 46
British Watercolor Drawings in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1971, no. 41
English Drawings and Watercolors 1550-1850, in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Royal Academy, 1972, no. 44
Martin Hardie, Water-Colour Painting in Britain, ed. Dudley Snelgrove, London: B. T. Batsford, 1966, p. 102
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 70
Thomas Jones, Italian Account Book, National Library of Wales: Aberwystwyth, 2003


This drawing is perhaps a view near the entrance to the Grotto of Posillipo, which Towne visited with Thomas Jones on 24 March 1781.1

This drawing contains a fairly extensive pencil sketch that Towne has not worked up, of figures and animals walking along the path away from the viewer. Of these, Towne has only completed the most distant animal and a couple of the figures.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Jones 2003.

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