Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View of Coniston Water
  • View of Lake Coniston, Lancashire
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour
  • image width 159mm,
  • image length 476mm
on two sheets with a fleur-de-lis watermark similar to Heawood 1849
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne delt.1786”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No25 A View of the Lake of Coniston in Lancashire drawn on the Spot / by Francis Towne August 15th. 1786.”
  • in brown ink
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records; 1997 Tate catalogue (image)


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), on whose death it passed to Towne’s residuary legatee John Herman Merivale (1779–1844) and his successors. On 17 February 1961 it was sold by a Mrs Merivale to Agnew’s (no.1131) with FT458, FT468, FT512, FT581. She was probably Josephine Merivale, wife of Dr Walter Herman Hodgson Merivale (ca. 1918–1971), and the drawing was probably inherited from his father (?Herman Walter Merivale, b.1898), who was given them by John Herman Merivale’s granddaughter, Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945). On 8 March 1961 Agnew’s sold the drawing to Paul Mellon (1907–1999), who gave it to the current owner, the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1977.14.6293; gift to Yale, December 1977).

Associated People & Organisations

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, December 1977, B1977.14.6293
Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999), 8 March 1961
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 17 February 1961, no.1131
As a group with FT458, FT468, FT512, FT581
Josephine Merivale
Sold by 'Mrs Merivale' to Agnew's (no.1131) with FT468, FT568, FT512, FT581
Dr Walter Herman Hodgson Merivale (ca. 1918 - 1971)
Herman Walter Merivale (1898)
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 86 as 'Coniston Lake, Lancashire'
An Exhibition of English Drawings and Water Colours from British Collections, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1962, no. 85
Presences of Nature, Yale Center for British Art, 1982, no. I 9
Oil on Water, Yale Center for British Art, 1986, no. 60
Francis Towne, Tate Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, 24 June 1997 - 4 January 1998, no. 52


This is a view of Coniston Water from near the spot Towne used for FT480, presumably drawn in the evening given the yellow western sky.

by Richard Stephens

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