Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Near Exeter
ca. 1815
Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour
  • image height 112mm,
  • image width 184mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “From 5 minutes after 11 to ¼ of 12 O’Clock”
Part of
  • 1812-1815 Sketchbook
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Museum 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 within a sketchbook containing FT733 to FT751. Probably the book was among the “two small sketchbooks and five small drawings late in date” that Judith Merivale sold to Squire Gallery in 1945 for £50. By early 1946 the drawing was owned by the Fine Art Society, as on 21 or 23 January 1946 they sold it to Agnew’s (no.4400) for £31 10s. Agnew’s sold it on 1 March 1946 for £34 less commission of £1 14s. to Sir John Heathcoat Amory, Bt (1894–1972. On 27 February 1956 Amory sold it back to Agnew’s (no.8260), where on 15 January 1957 it was bought by a collector, who on 21 January 1957 sold it back to Agnew’s (no.8654). On 29 January 1958 it was bought by William B. Dalton, who gave it in 1960 to the present owner, the Art Gallery of Ontario (Acc. no.58/9).

Associated People & Organisations

Ontario, Toronto, 1960, Acc. no.58/9
William B. Dalton, 29 January 1958
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 21 January 1957, no.8654
Private Collection, 21 January 1957
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 27 February 1956, no.8260
Sir John Heathcoat Amory (1894 - 1972), 1 March 1946, GBP 34
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, January 1946, GBP 31.10s, no.4400
The Fine Art Society, London, London, 1946
[?] Squire Gallery, London, 1945, GBP 50
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915
Inherited within a sketchbook containing FT733 to FT751.
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915
Inherited within a sketchbook containing FT733 to FT751.
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Winter Exhibition of Early English Watercolours and Drawings, Fine Art Society, 1946, no. 115 as 'Near Exeter'
83rd Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1957, no. 23
Preferred Places: A Selection of British Landscape Watercolours from the Collection of the Art Gallery of Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1987, no. 10


This drawing has always been called Near Exeter even though it is an anonymous roadside view whose inscription does not locate its subject. The title perhaps arose from the drawing’s position within the sketchbook near drawings of the Exeter area such as FT745, FT746, and FT747 dated 18 and 19 August 1815. This drawing is also inscribed with the same time as FT746 of Fordland, so was presumably located very nearby.

by Richard Stephens

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