Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Caernarfon
  • Caernarvon Castle, built by Edward I
  • Caernarvon Castle 1777
Pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 279mm,
  • image length 432mm
vertical crease down the centre of the paper
mounted by the artist[?]
  • sheet, recto
  • “1777”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Caernarvon Castle drawn on the spot by Francis Towne 1777 [over an erased inscription]”, numbered “25”, and with an indication of the direction of the light
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
1932 Exeter catalogue; Paul Oppé records; Fine Art Society records


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), on whose death it passed to 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 (BP113). Judith Merivale retained the drawing until at least 1932 but by 1937 it was on sale at Agnew’s. Presumably the same drawing was on sale at the Fine Art Society from 1939, where on 22 April 1942 it was sold for £47 5s. to J. Bamfield, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

J. Bamfield, 22 April 1942, GBP 47.5s
[?] The Fine Art Society, London, London, 1939
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 1937
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP113
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP113
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. 35 as 'Caernarvon Castle, built by Edward I'
Loan Exhibition of Works by Early Devon Painters Born Before the Year 1800, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1932, no. 74
Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour & Pencil Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1937, no. 146
Exhibition of Early English Watercolours, Fine Art Society, 1939, no. 27 as 'Caernarvon Castle 1777 s.i.d. verso Ex Merivale'
Exhibition of Early English Watercolours, Fine Art Society, 1941, no. 46
Exhibition of Watercolour Drawings of London and Elsewhere by 18th and early 19th Century Artists, Fine Art Society, 1942, no. 80
Exhibition of Watercolours: Drawings and Oils by Early English Artists, Fine Art Society, 1942, no. 98
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 48


Paul Oppé’s note reads: “113 Caernarvon 25 11x17 [279 x 432 mm] fold at back 1777 over erasure 1777 on front. Spot & light. Fine outline castle & distance (coloured green & blue) blue water & reflection. Near shore dark green brown [. . .] brush hatching in the bushes.”1

The erasure of the date and the brush hatching in the bushes suggest that the drawing was mounted and worked up long after 1777.

by Richard Stephens


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

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