Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Chudleigh
  • A Mill at Chudleigh
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour
  • image width 203mm,
  • image length 254mm
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F Towne / delt. 1785”
  • frame, verso
  • “A Mill at Chudleigh / Francis Towne / 1785”
  • in brown ink; label was formerly either part of an original mount that has now been removed or else was attached to the drawing itself
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Christie’s records (image); Paul Oppé notes


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 (BP203). In August 1936 Judith Merivale sold it to Squire Gallery for £6 6s. with FT435 and by 1942 it was on sale at the Fine Art Society where on 5 May 1942 it was sold for £18 18s. to Colonel Phelps. It was as “the property of a lady” at Christie’s South Kensington on 3 December 2003, lot 6, where it was purchased for £3,290 including fees by John Spink, who exhibited it for sale in November 2005 for £27,000.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, November 2005, GBP 27000
Spink & Son, London, London, November 2005
John Spink, London, 3 December 2003, GBP 3290
Christie's, London, London, 3 December 2003, lot 6
Colonel Phelps, 5 May 1942, GBP 18.18s
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 1942
Squire Gallery, London, August 1936, £6.6s with FT435
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP203
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP203
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Watercolours: Drawings and Oils by Early English Artists, Fine Art Society, 1942, no. 81 as 'A Mill at Chudleigh'
Francis Towne and his Friends, John Spink at Colnaghi, 2005, no. 4


Wilcox identified this mill as one both John White Abbot and Henrik de Cort had drawn in 1795. G. Hollis’s etching after de Cort was published in 1817, a decade after the mill itself was destroyed by fire.1 The detailed treatment of De Cort diverges greatly from Towne’s sketchy account.

Paul Oppé’s note reads: “203 same year also [as FT435] Chudleigh. Quite transparent but colours loose & bloody. Grey & red ochre. Tumble down mill. Wheatley Ibbetson. Outline, loose colour.”2

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Tim Wilcox note in 2005 John Spink catalogue.
  2. 2 Paul Oppé records: notes, ca. 1915.

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