Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Raven Crag and Part of Thirlmere
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour, gum
  • image width 156mm,
  • image length 235mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower centre
  • “No31 / F.Towne / delt 1786”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Light from the left hand / 12 o Clock / No.31. / Raven Cragg with part of Thirlmere Lake / in the Vale of St. John. in Cumberland / Drawn by Francis Towne / [“August 17th.1786” scratched out] / London / [“Leicester Square / 17. . .” scratched out]”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (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 she sold it on 10 (according to Agnew’s) June 1921 to Agnew’s (no.9975) for £30, where it was bought on 7 (both Agnew’s and museum) June 1921 by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam (for £75 with FT459) on behalf of the current owner, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (PDP, 1052).

Associated People & Organisations

Fitzwilliam Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 7 June 1921, £75, with FT459
Acquired by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam.
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 10 June 1921, GBP 30, no.9975
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923), 1915
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 73 as 'Raven Cragg at Wyburn Lake'
Beauty, Horror, Immensity, Fitzwilliam Museum, 1981, no. 119
Peter Bicknell, British Hills and Mountains: 1947, repr (no plate no)
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 30, 129
Luke Herrmann, British Landscape Painting of the 18th Century, Faber: London, 1973, p. 78
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 119


Raven Crag, at the north-west corner of Thirlmere, is the peak in the left part of this drawing. Towne was standing at the edge of Great How Wood, just south of St John’s in the Vale, and made the sketch on his journey to the northern zone of the Lakes.

by Richard Stephens

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