Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Lake Klönthal near Glarus
ca. 1781/09/02
Pencil, pen and grey ink, grey wash
  • image width 285mm,
  • image length 466mm
paper watermarked with a fleur-de-lis design
  • sheet, verso
  • “Lake of Clonthalee near Glaris / No26th. Sept 2nd 1781 light from the left hand in the morning / Francis Towne”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Christie'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 granddaughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP71). In 1933 Judith Merivale sold it to Squire Gallery for £6 10s. It was bought by F. O. Roberts, probably from Squire, and it descended to his niece, who sold the drawing at Christie’s on 13 July 1993, lot 24, where it was bought by Leger Galleries.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection
Leger Galleries, London, 13 July 1993
Christie's, London, London, 13 July 1993, lot 24
F. O. Roberts
Squire Gallery, London, 1933, GBP 6 10s
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP71
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP71
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
British Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, Leger Galleries, 1994, no. 5
Francis Towne, Tate Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, 24 June 1997 - 4 January 1998, no. 40


This is a westward view of the lake, three miles east of Glarus and at the centre of the Klönthal valley, which Towne drew on his excursion down the Glarus valley. To the left rise the precipices of Glärnisch and the stream towards the foreground is called the Löntsch, which joins the Linth below Netstal (depicted in FT366). This lake, where Solomon Gessner had a summer retreat, was also visited by John Robert Cozens on his first continental tour of 1776–79 and by Thomas Smith in the 1780s or 1790s (see FT894). The lake was flooded in the twentieth century.

by Richard Stephens

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