Description
Creator
Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
Title(s)
  • Snowdon
  • Looking North from Lower Slopes of Snowdon
Date
1775
Medium
Oil on (?)wood
Dimensions
  • image height 447mm,
  • image length 563mm
Inscription
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne. 1775”
Object Type
Oil painting

Collection
Versions
Snowdon, Private Collection
Catalogue Number
FT142
Description Sources
Sotheby’s records; Paul Mellon Centre (image)

Provenance

Untraced until 8 November 1957, when it was purchased by Agnew’s (no.2205) from the Leonard Koetser Gallery, Duke Street. On 14 August 1958 Arthur Watkins bought it from Agnew’s and Mrs J. Watkins sold it at Sotheby’s on 20 March 1974, lot 7, for £400 to G. Young. It was offered again at Sotheby’s on 26 March 1975, lot 81, and was sold at Bonham’s Knightsbridge on 29 October 2014, lot 261.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 29 October 2014
Bonham's, London, 29 October 2014, lot 261
Private Collection, 26 March 1975
Sotheby's, London, London, 26 March 1975
lot 81
G. Young, 20 March 1974, GBP 400
Sotheby's, London, London, 20 March 1974, lot 7
Sold by Mrs J. Watkins
Arthur Watkins, 14 August 1958
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 8 November 1957, no.2205
Leonard Koetser Gallery, London, 1957

Comment

This picture was called Looking North from the Lower Slopes of Snowdon in 1957 and 1974, presumably on the basis of an old label or inscription. The 1775 date is difficult to accept, though beyond serious doubt—the “5” is the clearest of the four digits in fact. This means that the composition (and the later version dated 1778) cannot be based on a sketch Towne made on his 1777 tour of Wales. Given Towne’s duplication of the picture, even after his visit to Wales the previous year, it seems unlikely that this is based on another artist’s on-the-spot sketch or the study of a client. We must take seriously, then, the idea that Towne visited North Wales twice in the 1770s. 

Another version of the picture catalogued here is dated 1778 (FT141). There is nothing stylistically to distinguish the dates of the two pictures.

 

by Richard Stephens

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