Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • On the side of the Rhine near the Source
  • On the Rhine near the Source, Coming down Mount Splugen
  • Sources of the Rhine
Pencil (?), pen and grey ink, grey and blue washes
  • image height 289mm,
  • image length 457mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “On the side of the Rhine near the source coming down Mt. Splugen, Light from the left-hand. August 29th 1781”
  • and perhaps numbered “15”
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Witt Library (image); Sotheby's records; 1951 Exeter catalogue


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 (BP60, Sources of the Rhine Aug 29 No.15). In September 1934 Judith Merivale sold it to Squire Gallery and by 1949 it was owned by Gilbert Davis (1899–1983), who sold it at Sotheby’s on 19 March 1958, lot 103, for £340 to Colnaghi (no.A22728), who bought it on behalf of “Detroit Institute of Arts”, which, however, has no trace of this work and has twice stated to me that it is not the owner. Currently, therefore, this work must be considered untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

P&D Colnaghi & Co, London, London, 19 March 1958, GBP 340, no.A22728
Acquired on behalf of the “Detroit Institute of Arts”
Sotheby's, London, London, 19 March 1958, lot 103
Gilbert Davis (1899 - 1983), 1949
Squire Gallery, London, September 1934
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP60
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP60
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
[?] The Squire Gallery Summer Exhibition of Early English Watercolours & Drawings, Squire Gallery, 1934, no. 5, inscribed "On the Rhine near the Source, Coming down Mount Splugen. 29 Aug 1781"
unidentified exhibition - possibly Art in the Georgian Home, Arts Council, 1949, no. 11
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 25
Henri Lemaitre, Le Paysage Anglais a l'Aquarelle 1760-1951, Bordas: Paris, 1955, p. 163


A smaller drawing of the same landscape is FT332, also dated 29 August. Paul Oppé described the present work as “quieter [than FT355/FT356]. Getting to Finberg’s Cozens.”1

by Richard Stephens


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

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