Description
Creator
Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
Title(s)
  • Buttermere
Date
1786/08/22
Medium
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour
Dimensions
  • image height 152mm,
  • image length 472mm
Support
two sheets
Inscription
  • sheet, recto
  • on a hill: “Grey Rock”
  • in pencil
Inscription
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.38. Lake of Buttermere light from the right hand 12 O’Clock / August 22nd. 1786. / F.Towne”, and on the other sheet in pencil, “Light from the right hand 12 O’Clock / August 22nd. 1786.”
  • in brown pen on the right hand (i.e. left sheet of the sketch)
Part of
  • Partially-disbound sketchbook sold by Judith Merivale to H. B. Milling of Squire Gallery
Object Type
Watercolour

Collection
Catalogue Number
FT494
Description Sources
Examination (image)

Provenance

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), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 within a partially disbound sketchbook containing FT455, FT462, FT470, FT471, FT472, FT475, FT476, FT477, FT478, FT480, FT494, FT495, FT496. In February 1945 Judith Merivale sold the book to H. B. Milling of Squire Gallery for £25. The drawing was owned by the Fine Art Society by early 1946, as on 21 or 23 January 1946 they sold it to Agnew’s (no.4403) for £64. Agnew’s sold it on 9 February 1948 for £65 to “Mrs Young” (perhaps Mrs E. M. Young but also possibly a pseudonym to disguise the real buyer’s identity), in whose family it remained in 2014.

Associated People & Organisations

Mrs E. M. Young, London, 9 February 1948, GBP 65
Thomas Agnew & Sons, 21 January 1946, GBP 64, no.4403
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 1946
Horace Bernard Milling (1898 - 1954), February 1945, GBP 25
Acquired within a partially-disbound sketchbook containing FT455, FT462, FT470, FT471, FT472, FT475, FT476, FT477, FT478, FT480, FT495, FT496
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
Private Collection
Exhibition History
74th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1947, no. 47
75th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1948, no. 61

Comment

Buttermere is a small lake a few miles west of Borrowdale. This view, drawn on the looping road from Keswick that passes through Borrowdale, looks south from near Buttermere town. The four peaks are, from the left, Fleetwith Pike, Hay Stacks, High Crag, and High Stile. Joseph Farington used much the same point for his published view.1

Towne’s sketch has strong echoes of the Lake Geneva panoramas of 1781 (compare with FT833). In the 1786 sketchbook this was placed after a view of Coniston Water numbered 24 (FT480) and before another of Buttermere numbered 39, which was drawn one hour after the sketch catalogued here (FT495).

by Richard Stephens

Footnotes

  1. 1 F. R. Hay after J. Farington, Buttermere and Chrommock Water, ca. 1815 (Wordsworth Trust).

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