Towne'’s drawings of Werrington Park, near Launceston in Cornwall, seem to have constituted his last major tour to West Country estate. Werrington was bought by the Earl of Northumberland in the middle of the eighteenth century, and from the 1770s, the grounds were landscaped with the addition of much new planting. It is possible that Towne went there before the work began, as one watercolour of the park looks stylistically as if it dates from his early years in Devon, around 1770 (Tate 1997, p. 31, Fig. 8). When he returned more than twenty years later, it was probably to fulfil a commission; it seems unlikely he would have travelled right across the county from Exeter, perhaps twice within three years, merely out of curiosity, but no paintings or drawings of Werrington with a Northumberland provenance have as yet been identified. ‘The Grove’, consisting of an isolated group of trees with slender trunks, may well represent part of the alterations to the park recorded after twenty or thirty years’ growth.
Oppé recorded six drawings of Werrington among the Merivale collection, including the present sheet, one of which was dated 1799; the others were undated. In addition, another watercolour of the park, signed and dated 1796, was sold at Christie's, London, 21 March 1989 lot 137 (see Fig. 1). A further watercolour, which came from yet another source, was sold at Christie's London, 1 March 1977, lot 111. This was numbered '92', in sequence with the present drawing, numbered '79', and a drawing of Werrington in entirely identical style now at Yale, numbered '81'’. During the 1790s, Towne'’s work was variable in quality, but the Werrington drawings mark a dramatic return to form, in a heightened version of his hallmark linear technique. Foliage is rendered not only by the usual looping outline, but also by repeated curly clusters; and Towne makes free use of parallel hatching to accentuate contrasts of light and shade. The effect of the interplay between the intense penwork and the soft grey and brown washes is extremely beautiful. When Towne mounted his one-man show of drawings in London in 1805, most of the work he included was of much earlier date. He did however show two Werrington drawings among a few more recent Devon subjects, so although these now look untypical, he must have felt that they were equal to his work in Italy or the Lake District.