Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • On the Rhine
ca. 1781/09
Pencil (?), pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 210mm,
  • image length 152mm
on paper with stitch marks along the top edge
  • sheet, verso
  • “On The Rhein No.59 light from the right hand”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Museum records (image); Agnew's records


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 (BP89). In 1931 Judith Merivale sold the drawing to E P Merivale, presumably her sister-in-law Elizabeth Phoebe Merivale (1862/1863–1943). It was probably on sale at Squire Gallery in 1937 and it was later on sale at Colnaghi, where it was bought by Gilbert Davis (1899–1983) on 26 April 1950. It was acquired in 1959 by the present owner, the Huntington Library, San Marino (59.55.1271).

Associated People & Organisations

Huntington Library, San Marino, California, San Marino, 1959, 59.55.1271
Gilbert Davis (1899 - 1983), 26 April 1950
P&D Colnaghi & Co, London, London
[?] Squire Gallery, London, 1937
Elizabeth Phoebe Merivale (1862/63 - 1943), 1931
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP89
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP89
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. 139
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 90


This is a view from Towne’s northwards progress along the Rhine through Germany and must date from the latter part of September. There are many castles along the Rhine valley between Mainz and Bonn, and especially between Bingen and Koblenz. The identity of Towne’s castle is unknown, but perhaps it is Burg Maus above Wellmich.

Towne’s fingerprints are visible on parts of this drawing along the bottom edge.

by Richard Stephens

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