Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Vicovaro
Pencil, pen and grey ink, grey and brown washes
  • image width 235mm,
  • image length 311mm
Whatman paper "J WHATMAN" visible in reverse, the tops of the letters cut off, along top edge.
  • sheet, verso
  • “April 22nd. 1781Vicavarro No 6 / The evening sun out of the picture on the left hand / Francis Towne”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Agnew's 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 granddaughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP8). Judith Merivale sold it in November 1933 to the Squire Gallery for £7 10s., where Leonard Duke (1889–1971; D.189) bought it in January 1934 for £4 and sold it in 1945 to Henry Charles Green (1883/1884–1966) for £20. Green sold the drawing at Sotheby’s on 18 October 1961, lot 175, for £80 to Agnew’s (no.1385; according to Fine Art Society records, jointly with them, their no.7324), who sold the drawing on 12 August 1963. In 1973 it was given anonymously to the current owner, Rhode Island School of Design (73.204.53). According to Agnew’s records, drawing BP8 was in the collection of Mrs E. W. Evans (née Merivale) before being bought in 1966 by Paul Mellon, even though there is no doubt that BP8 left the Merivale family in 1933.

Associated People & Organisations

Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence, 1974, 73.204.53
Private Collection, 12 August 1963
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 18 October 1961, no.7324
Acquired jointly with Agnew's
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, November 1961, GBP 80, no.1385
Acquired jointly with the Fine Art Society
Sotheby's, London, London, 18 October 1961, lot 175
Henry Charles Green (1883/84 - 1966), 1945, GBP 20
Leonard Duke (1889 - 1971), January 1934, GBP 4, D.189
Squire Gallery, London, November 1933, GBP 7.10s
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP8
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP8
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. 127 as 'Vicavasso'


An engraving of 1784 is based on Jacob Phillip Hackert’s 1780 gouache, from the same riverside viewpoint as Towne’s sketch.1

The drawing is now very faded but areas of yellow wash (such as on the cloud to the right, and hitting the castle, centre background) are visible.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 B. A. Dunker and G. A. Hackert after Jacob Philipp Hackert, Vicovaro, 1784 (Chiarini 1994).

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