Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Near Devil’s Bridge, Cardiganshire
Pencil, pen and grey ink, brown ink applied with a brush, watercolour
  • image width 171mm,
  • image length 254mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “Near the Devil’s Bridge Cardiganshire August 25th 1810”
Part of
  • 1810 Sketchbook
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Christie's records (image)


Bequeathed by Francis Towne 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 within a sketchbook containing FT689 to FT714, much or all of which by 1963 was owned by Mr and Mrs Sutton of New Zealand. On 19 June 1963 they sold seventeen drawings from the book, including this one, to the Fine Art Society (no.7772) for £3,750. In 1963 or 1964 the Fine Art Society sold this drawing (no.7772/5) for £450 to Walter Augustus Brandt (1902–1978) and purchased it back again (no.8047) from Hay on 21 July 1964. In 1964 or 1965 they sold it again, for £708 15s. to Sir Claud Humphrey Meredith Waldock (1904–1981). It was sold, perhaps by his estate, at Christie’s on 15 June 1982, lot 124, for £2,000, and was sold by John Spink in 2005 (advertised at £33,000).

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 2005
John Spink, 2005
Christie's, London, London, 15 June 1982, GBP 2000, lot 124
Sir Claud Humphrey Meredith Waldock (1904 - 1981), GBP 708.15s
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 21 July 1964, no.8047
Hay, July 1964
Walter Augustus Brandt (1902 - 1978), GBP 450
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 19 June 1963, GBP 3750, no.7772/5
Mr & Mrs Sutton, New Zealand, June 1963
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915
Inherited within a sketchbook containing FT689 to FT714.
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915
Inherited within a sketchbook containing FT689 to FT714.
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Early English Water-colours and Drawings, Fine Art Society, 1964, no. 82 as 'Near the Devil's Bridge, Cardiganshire'
Forty-Fifth Exhibition of Early English Water-colours and Drawings Spring 1965, Fine Art Society, 1965, no. 45
Francis Towne and his Friends, John Spink at Colnaghi, 2005, no. 14
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 140


The Rivers Rheidol and Mynach meet in a 300-foot plunge at Pontarfynach (Devil’s Bridge). The bridge and the surrounding area were well known for their picturesque qualities and in 1810 Towne made four sketches there (also FT693, FT694, FT695).

Two figures are indicated in pencil only, in the opening between the foreground trees.

by Richard Stephens

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