North Devon, 1783

Richard Stephens

Five drawings that Towne made in north Devon in August 1783 survive, four of which are dated 26 August (FT400, FT401, FT402, FT403). Towne began a numbered series with three studies of the ancient woodland at Indicnowle (FT400, FT401, FT402), a mile or so south of Combe Martin (FT403). A sketch of Lynton Rocks (FT404) was probably made around the same time. A view of Dunkeswell Abbey, numbered 11 and dated 20 August (FT405), is perhaps part of the same series although, alone among this group, it is coloured and on a different size of paper. 

In addition to the drawings in this group, there is also sketch of Canonteign from the same year and numbered 15 (FT406), but its precise date is unknown.

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.


Article title
North Devon, 1783
Richard Stephens
Article DOI
Cite as
Richard Stephens, "North Devon, 1783", A Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739-1816), (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016),

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