Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Pont Ddu
  • Pont Dû, near Festiniog, Merioneth
Pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 216mm,
  • image length 279mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “Pont dhu [. . .] drawn on the Spot”, numbered “17”, and dated “5th July 1777”
  • verso
  • “V&L”
  • paper watermarked with a fleur-de-lis design with the letters
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Paul Oppé notes; Barton Place catalogue


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 (BP108). Judith Merivale sold it to Squire Gallery in July 1935 for £12 (Herbert Milling of Squire Gallery visited Judith Merivale in November 1933 and expressed an interest then in buying this drawing). In 1936 it appears to have been on sale at Walker’s Galleries, and is now in a private collection in Clwyd (Inland Revenue Tax Exempt Heritage Item Ref. 17591).

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, Clwyd, 17591
[?] Walker's Galleries, London, 1936
Squire Gallery, London, July 1935, GBP 12
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP108
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP108
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Annual Water Colour Exhibition 1926, The Judge's Lodgings, Winchester, 1926, no. 134


Pont Ddu (meaning “Black Bridge”) may be a scene near the waterfalls of FT082, Rhaeadr Ddu, or at some unidentified location nearer Ffestiniog. Modern maps locate “Pont-ddu” not in North Wales but as a crossing over the river Cywyn near Carmarthen.

Paul Oppé’s note of the drawing reads: 

108 8½ x 11 [216 x 279 mm] Fleur de lis V&L Pont dhu [. . .] Spot [. . .] Full of ink outline, light & pretty in water & bridge Some very fine crumble in trees. Note stronger line in near rock. Much erasure probably accidental. Bridge over rock & under trees L Rock over foaming water centre, tree over little hill, tree R[ight]. Grey & yellow brown; dirty, unfinished. Patches of green more like Pars. Sky no outline faint grey. Yellow of bridge notable. Also general grey scheme with patches of colour – Pars. But much more outline.1 
by Richard Stephens


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

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