Description
Creator
John Baverstock (1785 - 1859) after Francis Towne
Title(s)
  • Conwy from the Quay
Date
ca. 1777
Medium
Watercolour
Dimensions
  • image height 232mm,
  • image width 365mm
Inscription
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “J.B.Knight, Conway from the Quay”
Inscription
  • sheet, verso
  • “Taken from folio on the artist’s death JBK 1816”
  • with further inscription, comprising genealogical notes of the Baverstock Knight family of Dorset
Object Type
Watercolour

Collection
Versions
Conwy Castle, Untraced
Catalogue Number
FT841
Description Sources
Museum records (image)

Provenance

Descended through the artist’s family until 1913 when it was given by Revd F. Knight to the current owner, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (732/1913).

Associated People & Organisations

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, 1913, 732/1913
Revd F Knight
Exhibition History
Paintings and Drawings by Francis Towne and John White Abbott in the collection of Exeter Museums and Art Gallery, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1971
Bibliography
Jane C. Baker, Catalogue of Oil Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Sculpture, Exeter Museums: Exeter, 1978, p. 85

Comment

This is presumed to be a copy by John Baverstock Knight (1785–1859) of an unknown drawing by Towne, probably from the 1777 tour (FT097a), although Towne also sketched at Conwy in 1809 (FT668, FT669, FT670). Baverstock Knight was a prolific, acquisitive sketcher who travelled a great deal in south-west England on social visits. The inclusion of this drawing as a copy after Towne rests on the verso inscription, which is understood to refer to Towne’s death in 1816, but there is little in the watercolour itself that points to Towne. His source may well have been a drawing that Towne had worked up in later life.

Baverstock Knight’s work was showcased at a Squire Gallery exhibition in 1931, when The Times observed that his works “show a great variety of styles, with suggestions of Francis Towne in some of them”.1 Martin Hardie also noted a “striking” and “fundamental similarity of style” between the work of the two men,2 and placed Knight in the chapter on “Francis Towne and his followers”. It is true that Baverstock Knight shared with Towne a fairly sparse and highly structured sketching style, often using pen and monochrome washes, but they shared these with many of their contemporary sketchers. And doubtless—as this copy seems to confirm—Baverstock Knight would have known and admired Towne’s work, just as Hubert Cornish must have done. But neither Baverstock Knight nor Cornish were followers of Towne, in the sense that William Jackson, John White Abbott, or John Herman Merivale were, in adopting Towne’s style and methods of drawing more or less entirely.

The Exeter catalogue states that the note is “by a later hand that this work was taken from his portfolio after his death in 1859”, but that is not the case.3

by Richard Stephens

Footnotes

  1. 1 The Times, 6 November 1931.
  2. 2 Hardie 1966, vol.1, p.129.
  3. 3 Baker 1978, p.85.

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.