Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Tarr Steps, near Withypool
No date
Pen and ink, blue and grey wash
  • sheet, verso
  • “Tor Steps, near Widicombe, for Sir Thomas Acland 12 o clock light from left hand / 2nd Finished for Sr Thomas Acland 8 guineas as per agreement”
  • in pen until “hand”, pencil thereafter
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Tarr Steps, near Withypool
Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Paul Oppé notes


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 (BP199). In December 1935 Judith Merivale sold it to Sir Francis Dyke Acland, Bt (1874–1939), for £7 10s. with FT441 and FT443. It is thereafter untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Sir Francis Dyke Acland (1874 - 1939), December 1935, GBP 7.10s
Acquired with FT441 and FT443
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP199
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP199
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816


Withycombe is a village on the north-eastern edge of Exmoor, below Croydon Hill (FT436), however Towne’s inscription more probably refers to Withypool, a mile or two north of Tarr Steps, a prehistoric stone bridge on the River Barle. This scene is a few miles north-west of Dulverton. The version of this drawing commissioned by Sir Thomas Acland, who was Warden of Exmoor, is FT553

Oppé described this drawing thus: “Flat bridge on rough stones, one rocky river, meadow on r, hills wooded above. One figure on bridge another in meadow. Fine outline. Two grey & blue washes.”1

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Paul Oppé records.

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