Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View of Part of Roche Rock
No date
Pencil, pen and grey and brown inks, watercolour
  • image width 236mm,
  • image length 364mm
paper has a vertical crease mark down the centre and is watermarked with a coronet and fleur-de-lis design
mounted by the artist, with traces of gum at the verso bottom edge (as if it was once stuck into a portfolio)
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne / delt 1796”
  • in thick brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “A View of part of Roch Rock, / in the County of Cornwall / Drawn by Francis Towne. / Mounted 1796, / in Exeter”
  • in thick brown ink
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image)


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744-1825) on whose death it passed to the residuary legatee John Herman Merivale (1745-1844) and his successors. Merivale's grand-daughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853-1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860-1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP211). In February 1938 Judith Merivale sold it through Squire Gallery for 4.14s.4d. Sir Robert Clermont Witt (1872-1952; see also 155, 734) bought the drawing from Squire, and bequeathed it to the present owner, the Courtauld Institute of Art (Witt 1758).

Associated People & Organisations

Courtauld Gallery, London, London, 1952, D.1952.RW.1758
Sir Robert Clermont Witt, February 1938
Squire Gallery, London, February 1938, GBP 4.14s.4d
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP211
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP211
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
unidentified exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1943
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 58


Roche Rock is a granite outcrop in the village of Roche, five or so miles north-west of St Austell in Cornwall. Antiquarian interest in the site focused on the ruins of a fifteenth-century hermitage that had been built onto the rocks. Oppé’s note reads: “Roche Rock 1796. Coloured over the brown hatching. Also black line. Light colour blue & green. NB some of this hatching is on back of 208 (1787) [i.e. FT542]. Mounted 1796 in Exeter.”1 Towne’s inscription “Mounted 1796 in Exeter” also appears on a view at Werrington (FT588).

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Paul Oppé records: notes, ca. 1915.

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.