Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Waterfall at Tivoli
Pencil, watercolour
  • image width 635mm,
  • image length 432mm
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne / 1790”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
The owner from 1984; Christie’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 grandson Revd Mortimer Drury Buckingham (b.1856) inherited the work ca. 1915. It is possible that he passed it to his nephew William Trevelyan Turner (b.1892), since Bury 1962 (and Worsley 1963, following Bury) states that the drawing was commissioned by a Mr Turner—Bury may have been unaware of Turner’s Merivale connection and imagined him to be the descendant of the commissioner. It was on sale at Walker’s Gallery in 1945, around which time it was bought by Sir William Worsley, Bt (1890–1973), whose family sold it at Christie’s on 20 November 1984, lot 75. It was bought by Colnaghi, who sold it in the US to Felix Fabrizio, whose estate offered it for sale at Christie’s, London, on 10 December 2008, lot 18, where it failed to sell.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection
Christie's, London, London, 10 December 2008, lot 18
Felix Fabrizio, December 2008
P&D Colnaghi & Co, London, 20 November 1984
Christie's, London, London, 20 November 1984, lot 75
Sir William Worsley (1890 - 1973), 1945
Walker's Galleries, London, 1945
[?] William Trevelyan Turner
Mortimer Drury Buckingham (ca. 1857), 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. 191 as 'The falls of the Anio at Tivoli'
[?] The Exhibition of the Royal Academy, Royal Academy of Arts, 1808, no. 396 as 'The Cascade at Tivoli'
The 41st annual exhibition of early English and other water-colours, Walker's Gallery, 1945, no. 87
Watercolours by Francis Towne, City Art Gallery, 1950, no. 13
English Drawings and Watercolours, Colnaghi, 1985, no. 44
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 142
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, pp. 122-123
Sir William Worsley, Early English Water-Colours at Hovingham Hall: 1963, p. 11


Towne uses the same viewpoint as John “Warwick” Smith in his Select Views, showing the influence of Gaspar Dughet (via the 1744 engraving by J. Mason). No study for Towne’s watercolour is known, although as FT270 has not been photographed, that cannot be discounted as the source.

For Towne’s British Institution exhibits of 1808 see FT618, FT645, and FT645a. Towne’s address in the exhibition catalogue was given as 39 Queen Anne Street West.

This may well be the watercolour that Towne mentioned in a codicil of 1816 as hanging in his fore parlour at 31 Devonshire Street.

by Richard Stephens

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