Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Trees over a Torrent
ca. 1786/08
Pen and brown ink, watercolour, sepia
  • image width 378mm,
  • image length 267mm
wove paper with a partial watermark
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination (image)


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White (1744–1825) of Exeter, 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 (BP160 “no name but clearly belonging to Ambleside series”). In 1937 it was on sale at the Fine Art Society, although the Barton Place catalogue gives no details of how it came to be there. By July 1937 the drawing had been sold, and in 1942 it was on sale again at the Fine Art Society, where on 26 November 1942 it was sold for £36 15s. to Geoffrey Fenwick Jocelyn Cumberlege (1891–1979). The back of the drawing is inscribed “Louisa”, suggesting that it was owned by Louisa Ann Merivale (1819–1885), seventh child of John Herman Merivale.

Associated People & Organisations

Geoffrey Fenwick Jocelyn Cumberlege (1891 - 1979), 26 November 1942, GBP 36 15s
The Fine Art Society, London, 1942
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 1937
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP160
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP160
[?] Louisa Buckingham (1850)
The back of the drawing is inscribed “Louisa”
[?] Louisa Ann Merivale (1819 - 1885)
The back of the drawing is inscribed “Louisa”
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Early English Water-Colour Drawings, Fine Art Society, 1937, no. 3 as 'Trees over a Torrent 'Morning light from the right' Ex Merivale'
Exhibition of Early English Water-Colour Drawings, Fine Art Society, 1937, no. 12 as 'Trees over a Torrent', marked as sold
Exhibition of Watercolours: Drawings and Oils by Early English Artists, Fine Art Society, 1942, no. 63 as 'Trees over a Torrent'


This is probably a study made in or near Ambleside, perhaps at Stock Ghyll or on the Rivers Brathay or Rothay on the outskirts of the town. The drawing has been heavily worked up by Towne late in life. Oppé’s reference to an “Ambleside series” indicates that he associated it with other works of Stock Ghyll made on Roman paper.

by Richard Stephens

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