Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Oakley Park
Pencil, pen and ink, grey wash
  • image width 286mm,
  • image length 473mm
paper with a vertical crease down its centre and damaged at the top edge, watermarked with the letters "IV"
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.47 July 22. 1777 / Okely Park / Drawn on the Spot by Francis Towne”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Paul Oppé records; 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 (BP182). Judith Merivale sold it in January 1936 to Squire Gallery for £5 10s. By 1962 it had been acquired by Sir Bruce Sterling Ingram (1877–1963) and was given or bequeathed by him to Professor Luke Herrmann, by whom it was given in 2002 to the current owner, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (2002P8).

Associated People & Organisations

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 2002, 2002P8
Luke Herrmann
Sir Bruce Stirling Ingram (1877 - 1963), 1962
Squire Gallery, London, January 1936, GBP 5 10s
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP182
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP182
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 77
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 144
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 34


Oakley Park, near Ludlow in Shropshire, was in 1777 the seat of Edward, 2nd Baron Clive (1754–1839), who had succeeded his father Robert Clive (of India and MP for Shrewsbury, 1760–74) in 1774.

Paul Oppé’s note reads:

182. No47 July 22 1777. Okeley Park drawn on the Spot by Francis Towne 11½ x 19 [286 x 473 mm]. IV or VI. Loose drawn trees foregrd Trees with light d[?] figure thro’ stems L park & hill, Tree R. Broad outline, not crinkle but still on whole mere contour of tree. Much left in pencil. Ind ink much more heavy & patchy. L.corner almost=some poor Ital eg my Albano. (Interesting as anticipn of Italy in the lighting & of J Cozens).1

According to the National Art Collections Fund’s records, the drawing is dated 1800 on the verso, but this is surely a later inscription not made by Towne.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Paul Oppé records: notes, ca. 1915.

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