Sections

Merivale Family

Richard Stephens

The Merivale family were a Nonconformist Exeter family whose members knew Towne as their friend, travelling companion, drawing master and, ultimately, benefactor. James White introduced Towne to his old school friend John Merivale (1752–1821), who used an unexpected inheritance to create a small estate at Barton Place, north of Exeter, rather than follow the career of his father Samuel as a religious teacher. Towne taught drawing to John Merivale’s only son, the lawyer and poet John Herman Merivale (1779–1844), and his two daughters Frances Merivale (b.1786) and Nancy (1782–1815), although the latter’s work does not survive. Towne also taught Louisa Drury, who married John Herman Merivale in 1805. Ultimately, Towne bequeathed the residuary interest in his estate to John Herman Merivale, so that the family remained closely associated with Towne in the twentieth century, as they gradually sold off their collection of his work to museums and collectors following their departure from Barton Place in 1915 and after the death of Anna Merivale, the family’s historian and the last surviving child of John Herman Merivale. The principal vendors were two granddaughters of John Herman Merivale from Oxford, Judith and Maria Merivale, and their Devon cousin, Emily Buckingham.

About the author

  • Richard Stephens is an independent art historian. He was awarded a PhD at Birkbeck College, London, for his thesis, A Catalogue Raisonné of The Works of Francis Towne, on which his Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739–1816) 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.

Imprint

Imprint
Article title
Merivale Family
Author
Richard Stephens
Date
15/02/2016
Article DOI
https://doi.org/10.17658/towne/s5e4
Cite as
Richard Stephens, "Merivale Family", A Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739-1816), (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016), https://doi.org/10.17658/towne/s5e4

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue


If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.