Louisa Heath Drury (née Merivale) (1787 - 1873)
  • Sketchbook of Nineteen Views
ca. 1803 - 1805
Various, including pencil only; pencil, pen and ink; and watercolour
  • image height 175mm,
  • image width 267mm
sketchbook of wove paper
  • cover
  • In addition to inscriptions describing individual sheets, the book as a whole was evidently inscribed “L.H.Drury Sept 15 1803”, “Louisa Heath Merivale July 1805”, and “given by her to F.A.Merivale Nov 17 1869”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Agnew's records


Given by Louisa Heath Merivale (1787–1873, née Drury) to her daughter Frances Angel Merivale (b.1820, alive in 1884) on 17 November 1869, and descended to a Miss A. Merivale by 5 October 1960, when she sold it to Agnew’s (nos.0793, 0903–11, 6546–55). The book’s covers were destroyed and the sketches sold separately (as by Francis Towne) between 1960 and 1970, as follows:

No.0903 (“In Ugbrooke Park – with a distant view / of High Tor Rock. JH Merivale. July 17th 1805” [inscription from museum records]) sold to Sir William Worsley, Bt (1890–1973), on 15 December 1960. On 13 January 1968 Worsley sold it back to Agnew’s (no.8089) with FT137, FT432, FT736, and on 13 June 1968 Agnew’s sold it again. The current owner is Rhode Island School of Design (73.204.49)

No.0904 (A Bridge at Barton Place leading to Meadow, 18 September 1804) sold to Sir William Worsley, Bt, on 15 December 1960

No.0905 (Exeter from Gleave [Cleave] Hill September 1803) sold on 29 June 1963 with no.0907

No.0906 (The Avenue leading down from Gleave [Cleave] September 1803) sold on 20 February 1961

No.0907 (Cowick Lane nr Exeter, 1803) sold on 29 June 1963 with no.0905

No.0908 (Bridge leading to the Church at Walkern Herts, 25 June 1804) sold on 23 January 1961

No.0909 (The underwalk in the Plantation, Barton Place, September 1802) sold on 20 February 1961 with no.0906

No.0910 (The Warren from Exberries, 6 July 1805) sold to J. Hawkesley Elliot of Sheffield (d. ca. 1978) on 4 March 1961

No.0911 (Chudleigh Rock, Devon, 17 July 1805) sold on 17 March 1961

No.6546 (In the Chamber Copse, Barton Place, September 1804) sold to E. J. M. Buxton on 7 March 1967; the current owner is the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (no.1828*)

No.6547 (Bottom of the Lawn, Barton Place, September 1804) sold on 7 March 1967

No.6548 (Ugbrook Park, 17 July 1805) sold on 17 August 1967 to a dealer, probably Christopher Powney (see no.6550, below)

No.6549 (From Barton Place, September 1804) sold on 7 February 1967

No.6550 (Cliff at the Head Ware[?], Exeter, 15 September 1803) sold to a dealer on 17 August 1967 with no.6548; this was surely Christopher Powney, who exhibited the drawing as no.83 in an undated exhibition “Drawings and Watercolours”, priced at £45 (so in the decimal era)

No.6551 (Landscape, the Exe) sold via Sotheby’s on 3 December 1970

No.6552 (Landscape) sold via Sotheby’s on 3 December 1970

No.6553 (Landscape, Devonshire Valley) sold via Sotheby’s on 3 December 1970

No.6554 (Landscape with Houses, Devonshire Village) sold on 19 February 1968 to E. G. F. Vogtherr of New Zealand; it was sold from a New Zealand collection in June 2012 to the current owner

No.6555 (Landscape, Ugbrook Park) sold on 28 March 1968

Associated People & Organisations

Rhode Island Museum of Art, School of Design, Providence, 73.204.49
Sir William Worsley (1890 - 1973), 15 December 1960
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 5 October 1960, nos.0793, 0903–11, 6546–55
Frances Angel Merivale (1820 - alive 1884), 17 November 1869
Exhibition History
88th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1961, no. 1, 4, 6, 7, 11, 14, 16, 17
88th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1961, no. 31
95th Annual Exhibition of Watercolours and Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1968
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 144
Sir William Worsley, Early English Water-Colours at Hovingham Hall: 1963, p. 14


Although the sheets of this sketchbook were sold as the work of Towne himself, and the one signed sketch was the work of John Herman Merivale, the book is here attributed chiefly to his wife, Louisa Heath Merivale (1787–1873; née Drury). It seems that she inscribed her maiden name in the book, then added her new name when she married, on 10 July 1805; this information, and the titles in the provenance above (most of which are probably taken from inscriptions), comes from Agnew’s Drawings Books. If the sketchbook belonged to his wife, it would explain why John Herman Merivale signed the drawing made at Ugbrooke in 1805, which, presumably alone of the sketches, must have been his own work. The connection with Walkerne in Hertfordshire (Agnew’s no.0908) was also Louisa’s, not her husband’s, as it was where her sister Elizabeth lived and where Louisa herself is buried.

John Herman Merivale and his wife lived in London but spent their summer vacations from work in Devon, when most of the sketches appear to have been made. The couple were married at Dawlish, near Louisa’s family home of Cockwood, and remained in Devon afterwards. A week after their marriage (i.e. 17 July 1805) Louisa described

some very pleasant drives the last week we were there, particularly the anniversary of our wedding day (if you will allow the same day in the next week to be so styled) which we spent at Chudleigh, and were more fortunate than formerly in respect of the weather. We took a walk, I daresay, of nearly ten miles, all over Chudleigh Rock, which is a most beautiful spot, and afterwards in Ugbrooke Park, Lord Clifford’s place.1

The wedding day itself had included a trip to Chudleigh Rock and Ugbrooke, finishing with dinner at the Clifford Arms. Other sketches in the book were made in and near the Merivale house, Barton Place, north of Exeter. The nearby house, Cleave or Cleve, was the home of the Snow family, friends of both the Merivales and the Drurys.

A pencil “Study of Trees” measuring 170 x 270 mm was sold at Bonham’s Knightsbridge on 16 August 2006, lot 434, for £54 including fees (sale 13602). Although it was sold as a Towne, it seems likely that it was a sheet from this sketchbook (perhaps one of those sold at Agnew’s in the years 1968–70).

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Merivale 1884, p.149.

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