Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Looking from Ambleside across Lake Windermere
  • Looking from Ambleside across Windermere
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour with gum
  • image width 156mm,
  • image length 238mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne delt 1786 No.12’”
  • sheet, verso
  • indistinct
  • Spink’s records say the inscription is the same as on the mount
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Looking from Ambleside across the Lake of Windermere Morning light from the left hand drawn by Francis Towne and dated August 9th 1786”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Christie's records (image): Spink's records


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 acquired by 1952 by Norman Dakeyne Newall (1888–1952), whose heirs sold it at Christie’s in 13 December 1979, lot 71, for £12,000 to Spink & Son. On 24 January 1985 it was sold by Spink to a US corporate collection, the collection of BNY Mellon, Pittsburgh, the current owners.

Associated People & Organisations

Collection of BNY Mellon, Pittsburgh, 24 January 1985
Spink & Son, London, London, 13 December 1979, GBP 12000
Christie's, London, London, 13 December 1979, lot 71
Norman Dakeyne Newall (1888 - 1952), 1952
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923), 1915
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. 66 as 'Looking from Ambleside across Windermere'
English Watercolour Drawings Annual Exhibition 1982, Spink, 1982, no. 7
The Bank of New York Mellon Collection: A loan exhibition of works on paper, Hazlitt Holland Hibbert, 2007
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 113


This is a view looking across the head of Windermere to the area called Waterhead. Towne drew this in the morning of 9 August and made FT468 during the afternoon.

This has touches of late work in the introduction of figures. The graduated colouring, from brown to green to blue, is also more formal than most of Towne’s Ambleside sketches.

by Richard Stephens

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