Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Tothill
Pencil, pen and grey ink, watercolour
  • image height 140mm,
  • image width 229mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “No7 / August 31st 1815 / at Tothill from 12 to 1 o clock / Francis Towne”
  • in ink over pencil
Part of
  • 1815 Sketchbook
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Museum records; Witt Library (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 granddaughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 as part of a sketchbook containing FT765 to FT786, which they gave to their cousin Mary Ann Loveband (b.1865, alive in 1951), who sold the book to Agnew’s on 17 May 1938 for £60. On 19 January 1939 Agnew’s (no.2693) sold this drawing for £10 to D. Cuthbert, who (or whose heirs) sold it at Christie’s on 11 November 1958, lot 171 (a pair with 768), for £120 the pair jointly to the Fine Art Society and Agnew’s (Agnew’s no.J9533, Fine Art Society no.6687). On 16 December 1959 Agnew’s sold its half share to the Fine Art Society, where it had been on sale in 1959. The Fine Art Society sold the drawing to a US collector for £210 and in 1969 it was given anonymously to the current owner, Rhode Island School of Design (69.154.4).

Associated People & Organisations

Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence, 1969, 69.154.4
Private Collection, 1969, GBP 210
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 11 November 1958, GBP 120, no.6687
Acquired jointly with Agnew's.
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 11 November 1958, GBP 120, no.J9533
Acquired jointly with the Fine Art Society.
Christie's, London, London, 11 November 1958, lot 171
D. Cuthbert, 19 January 1939, GBP 10
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 17 May 1938, GBP 60, no.2693
Mary Ann Loveband (1865 - alive in 1951)
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915
Inherited as part of a sketchbook containing FT765 to FT786.
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915
Inherited as part of a sketchbook containing FT765 to FT786.
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
[?] Thirty-Ninth Exhibition of Early English Water-Colours and Drawings, Fine Art Society, 1959, no. 35


This is a view of Tothill looking across the Plym estuary.1 Although the inscription shows that Towne made the sketch in the early afternoon, the orange sky implies a sunset. The sheet has stitch marks along the left edge.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 1965 Donn 1965, pl.10a.

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