Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • On the River near Bath
ca. 1783/05/22
Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 197mm,
  • image length 159mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “on the River near Bath / afternoon light from the left hand / May 22nd 1783 / Francis Towne / No.61”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “A view taken near the River at Bath / May 22nd 1783 Francis Towne / Afternoon light from the left hand”
  • now detached from the drawing
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Paul Oppé records; Agnew’s records; Palmer Museum of Art (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 granddaughter Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853–1923) inherited the drawing in 1915 and bequeathed it to her sister Frances Ann Laura Solly (b.1858). In March 1937 Frances Solly sold it to Agnew’s (no.2353), where it was bought on 3 March 1937 by Dr A. W. Young for £6 6s. It was on sale with Andrew Wyld and Anthony Reed in 1979, and was bought shortly after by Davis and Long of New York, from whom it was purchased in 1979 by the current owner, the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University, PA (no.79.141).

Associated People & Organisations

Palmer Museum of Art of The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, 1979, no.79.141
Davis and Long Gallery, New York, 1979
Dr A. W. Young, 3 March 1937, GBP 6.6s
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, March 1937, no.2353
Frances Ann Laura Solly (1858 - alive in 1932), 1923
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923), 1915
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
[?] Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour & Pencil Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1937, no. 63 as 'Near Bath (1783)'
English Watercolours, Anthony Reed and Andrew Wyld, 1979, no. no. 11
British Watercolors from the Permanent Collection, Palmer Museum of Art, 7 January - 4 May 2014


Oppé described this drawing twice, having viewed it with Emily Buckingham on 16 July 1915: “In Bath 1783 trees without outline chiefly Ind. ink & blue, tawny trees. Prettily composed. Foliage by strokes but broad & effective.”1 Elsewhere he noted, “Bath 1783 May 22nd. A free landscape Ind ink blue & yellow. Prettier, lighter & spottier style – more like Devis or any other”, and measured the drawing 7¾ x 6¼ in. [197 x 159 mm]. Given the heavy indian ink washes, Towne probably worked on this late in life. For a comparison with a late sketch, see an 1803 study at Canonteign (FT628).

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Paul Oppé records: notes, ca. 1915.

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