Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Near Rocca di Papa
Pencil, pen and grey ink, grey and blue washes
  • image width 391mm,
  • image length 254mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “No 47 / Near Rocca del Papa / in the wood of Chestnut Trees / Francis Towne / 1781”
  • in neat brown ink, small indistinct remains of a pencil inscription below it, perhaps the original inscription
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; 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 (1853–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (no BP number known). On 12 April 1946 Judith Merivale’s executors sold it to Agnew’s (no.4552), who sold it on 7 November 1946 to Sir John Heathcoat Amory, Bt (1894–1972). On 15 July 1963 Heathcoat Amory sold it back to Agnew’s (no.3447), where on 30 September 1963 it was purchased by Paul Mellon (1907–1999), who gave it to the present owner, the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1975.4.1412; gift to Yale, December 1975).

Associated People & Organisations

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, December 1975, B1975.4.1412
Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999), 30 September 1963
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 15 July 1963, no.3447
Sir John Heathcoat Amory (1894 - 1972), 7 November 1946
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 4 December 1946, no.4552
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, no BP number known
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, no BP number known
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
[?] 73rd Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1946, no. 66 as 'Near Rocca del Papa'
[?] 74th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1947, no. 50 as 'Near Rocca del Papa'
Loan Exhibition: English Watercolours and Drawings from Local Collections, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1949, no. 16
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 44
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 144


This study is compositionally similar to the “Foot Bridge” drawing (FT164), with its long overhanging tree trunk and foliage framing a cottage scene.

by Richard Stephens

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