Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Holnicote, Somerset, the Seat of Sir Thomas Acland
  • Holnicote, near Minehead, Somerset
Pen and grey ink, grey wash
  • image width 305mm,
  • image length 485mm
paper with vertical crease down the centre, watermark "PORTAL"
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.3 / Honicote Somersetshire / The seat of Sir Thomas Acland Bart. / drawn on the spot Octr. 3rd. 1785 / by / Francis Towne / Evening light / from the left hand”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Sotheby's records (image)


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 granddaughter Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853–1923) inherited the drawing in 1915 and it is thereafter untraced until 1963, by which time it was in the collection of Sir John Witt (1907–1982), whose executors sold it at Sotheby’s on 19 February 1987, lot 74, for £2,400 to Agnew’s (no.2053), who bought it on behalf of a client. It was again sold at Sotheby’s on 15 March 1990, lot 64. In 2005 it was given by Nancy Richardson to the current owner, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (no.41776).

Associated People & Organisations

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 2005
Nancy Richardson
Sotheby's, London, London, 15 March 1990
lot 64
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 19 February 1987, GBP 2400, no.2053
Acquired on behalf of a client
Sotheby's, London, London, 19 February 1987
lot 74
Sir John Witt (1907 - 1982)
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923), 1915
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Annual Water Colour Exhibition 1926, The Judge's Lodgings, Winchester, 1926, no. 131
The John Witt Collection, Part 11, English School, Courtauld Gallery, 1963, no. 58
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 131


This is a preparatory drawing for an oil picture now owned by the National Trust (FT449). Holnicote was a seat of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland just west of Minehead, looking over the Bristol Channel.

by Richard Stephens

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