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    Sale 6209

    British Watercolours

    9 November 1999, London, King Street

  • Lot 74

    Francis Towne (1739-1816)

    Ludlow Castle, Shropshire

    Price Realised  


    Francis Towne (1739-1816)
    Ludlow Castle, Shropshire
    signed 'F. Towne/delt. 1777/No 46' (lower left) and inscribed 'No. 46 A View of Ludlow Castle Shropshire/drawn on the spot/by/Francis Towne July 21st 1777' (on the reverse of the artist's original mount)
    pencil, pen and grey ink and watercolour, on the artist's original grey wash mount, the sheet has been extended along the right margin and the extension has been extended along the upper and lower edges
    11.7/8 x 22 in. (30.2 x 57.2 cm.)

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    This drawing is a product of Towne's Welsh tour in the summer of 1777. He seems to have used a sketchbook with a page size of about 11 x 19 in., sometimes, as in the present example, adding extra sheets to give additional drawing space (compare a view of the Lake of Bala, dated 27 June 1777, in the City Art Gallery, Birmingham). The drawings made on this tour were numbered in a series up to 54, and, as Opp points out, would have been 'kept by the artist and shown to patrons in the hope of commissions for copies' (op.cit., p. 106).

    At Francis Towne's death in 1816 the majority of his drawings and watercolours - excepting the series of Roman views presented to the British Museum - were inherited by James White, the artist's close friend, sometime travelling companion, and uncle of his most distinguished pupil James White Abbott. On James White's death in 1825 the collection passed, under the terms of Towne's will, to John Herman Merivale (1779-1844). The collection remained unknown at the Merivale home, Barton Place, throughout the 19th Century. In 1915, a gradual dispersal began, initially among the family, (particularly to Miss J. Merivale, Mr. R. Merivale, Mrs. Solly, MIss E. Buckingham and the Rev. M.D. Buckingham). Stimulated by Opp's article in 1920, a wider circle of collectors took an ever increasing interest in Towne's work. Sir William Worsley, who made his first acquisition in 1944, a view of Shaugh, was prominent among them, and by 1960 had formed a notable collection.


    The Merivale Family.
    Mrs. Solly.
    The late Sir William Worsley, 4th Bt.; Christie's London, 20 November 1984, lot 67 (8,100).
    with Albany Gallery, London.


    A.P. Opp, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', Journal of the Walpole Society, VIII, 1919-20, pp. 95-126, p. 107.
    A. Bury, Francis Towne, 1962, pp. 71 and 95, pl. XXXVI.


    possibly London, 20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, Francis Towne, 1805, no. 39 or 40.
    York City Art Gallery, Watercolours by Francis Towne, 1950, no. 1.