Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View of Oakhampton Castle and Town
  • Okehampton Castle
Pencil, pen and black ink, grey wash
  • image width 200mm,
  • image length 320mm
mounted by the artist (now detached)
  • artist's mount, recto
  • “F Towne delt. / 1772 / A VIEW OF OAKHAMPTON CASTLE AND TOWN TAKEN IN [indistinct, but very probably “THE PARK”]”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “A View of Oakhampton Castle and Town / in the County of Devon ./ drawn on the spot June 23rd. 1772 / by Francis Towne”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object


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. Merivale’s granddaughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945) inherited the drawing in May 1915 (no BP number was allocated) and by April 1924 it was in the possession of “Miss Urmson 23 Leckford Road. Oxford” (also FT031), presumably Barbara Edith Urmson (b.1886; her sister was Claudia Veronica Urmson [1890–1909]), the daughter of Edith Urmson (1858/1859–1930; née Gale, m.1883 Francis Birley Urmson, who was dead in 1909) of 23 Leckford Road, Oxford (her death notice is The Times, 27 March 1930). It is thereafter untraced until offered for sale by D. J. Fountaine at Sotheby’s, 30th November 1978, lot 113, and again at Sotheby’s on 26th July 1979, when it was bought by Martyn Gregory Fine Art for £360. Martyn Gregory Fine Art sold the drawing in January 1982 to its present owners, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (1981P82).

Associated People & Organisations

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham
D. J. Fountaine
Martyn Gregory, London
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844)
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945)
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928)
Sotheby's, London
Barbara Edith Urmson (1886)
James White (1744 - 1825)
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 6 as 'Okehampton Castle'
[?] Loan Exhibition of Works by Early Devon Painters Born Before the Year 1800, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1932, no. 71 as 'Okehampton Castle (Indian Ink) 7 1/2 x 12 1/2ins, lent by Miss Merivale'
Francis Towne, Tate Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, 24 June 1997 - 4 January 1998, no. 1


See the Comment at FT029. In a letter to Paul Oppé dated 26 September 1929 Edith Urmson described this as “a View of Oakhampton Castle and Town taken in the Park”, which is the basis for the reconstruction of the missing portion of Towne’s recto inscription.

by Richard Stephens

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