Sections

1813 Sketchbook

Richard Stephens

This sketchbook was used by Towne on his 1813 summer excursions in the Midlands and Devon. Maria Sophia and Judith Ann Merivale sold the book, containing thirteen drawings, to Augustus Walker of Walker’s Galleries for £60 in 1927. Walker disbound it and exhibited its contents in 1928. The four views of Oxford he gave to the Ashmolean Museum, and the rest he sold. In a letter to Geoffrey Agnew dated 16 February 1953 but based on notes made in 1928 when the sketchbook was acquired,1 J. L. Naimster of Walker’s Galleries noted Towne’s inscription inside the cover, “Francis Towne, No.31 Devonshire Street. Portland Place. August 19th.1813”, as well as the inscriptions on each drawing (omitting Towne’s numbers). From London Towne set out for Oxford, where he sketched on 25 August (FT752, FT753, FT754, FT755).2 Two days later he was at Warwick (FT756) and the following day a little further north at Kenilworth (FT757, FT758). After this group of Midlands subjects, the remainder of the drawings are of Devon, starting with the North Devon coast where Towne drew Ilfracombe on 7 September (FT759) and nearby Clovelly on 10 September (FT760, FT761). Two views in Tiverton are dated 11 September (FT762, FT763) and one is of countryside at Dunsmore, halfway between Tiverton and Exeter (FT764). A drawing from the 1812–15 sketchbook (FT737) shows that Towne was in the Exe estuary area a week later. James White owned Dunsmore, and probably he accompanied Towne during his travels in 1813 as he had done in 1809.

About the author

  • In 2006 Richard Stephens was awarded a PhD at Birkbeck College, London, for his thesis, A Catalogue Raisonné of The Works of Francis Towne, on which this website is based. In 2016 he curated the exhibition Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne's watercolours of Rome at the British Museum, London. He edits The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735, published by the University of York.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Agnew’s records.
  2. 2 Wilcox referred to “unstructured views made at Oxford in 1815”, rather than 1813: Wilcox 1997, p.140.

Imprint

Imprint
Article title
1813 Sketchbook
Author
Richard Stephens
Date
05/02/2016
Article DOI
https://doi.org/10.17658/towne/s4e6
Cite as
Richard Stephens, "1813 Sketchbook", A Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739-1816), (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016), https://doi.org/10.17658/towne/s4e6

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