Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A Waterfall
  • A rocky waterfall
No date
Pen and brown ink, grey wash
  • image width 197mm,
  • image length 153mm
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.T.”
  • in dark brown ink
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Fine Art Society records; Martin Gregory records


Untraced until acquired in 1947 by the Fine Art Society, and sold by them in or about 1951, as, according to Martin Gregory’s 1978 catalogue, this drawing was exhibited at the Fine Art Society in 1951 (although no Towne drawings were featured in that year’s catalogues). The Fine Art Society acquired a number of Towne drawings in the later 1940s following the death of Judith Merivale in 1945, of which this may be one. The drawing was then sold at Christie’s on 26 April 1977, lot 67, where it was bought for £110 by Martin Gregory, where it was on sale in 1978. A Waterfall (wash, 178 x 152 mm, signed) was sold at Christie’s on 8 June 1976, lot 102, to Cook for £180 and may be this drawing. It was sold (A rocky waterfall, measuring 200 x 150 mm) at Bonham’s, Oxford, on 24 July 2007, lot 57, for £90 excluding fees.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 24 July 2007, GBP 70
Bonham's, Oxford, 24 July 2007, lot 57
Martyn Gregory, 26 April 1977
Christie's, London, London, 26 April 1977, GBP 110, lot 67
[?] Christie's, London, London, 8 June 1976, GBP 180, lot 102
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 1947
[?] 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


An annotation of the National Art Library’s copy of the 1947b Fine Art Society exhibition catalogue reads “pupil in this”, and perhaps doubts over its attribution account for the drop in its price around that time: in 1947 it was offered at 42 guineas, in 1948 at £31 10s. and in 1950 at £26 5s. However, there is no reason to doubt the attribution. It is drawn in a style that is closely comparable to a tree study now at Sheffield, which Towne also signed with his initials (FT636). In the composition there are echoes of Towne’s approaches to waterfalls drawn in the Lake District in 1786 (FT472, FT517).

by Richard Stephens

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