Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • The Entrance to Borrowdale
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour
  • image width 97mm,
  • image length 156mm
mounted by the artist on laid paper
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne / [“1786” partially scratched out]”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No 2 The Entrance into Burrow Dale. / 28” in thick brown ink and, at the bottom-right corner, “28” in very small thin brown ink
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records; 1997 Tate catalogue (image)


Presumably bought from the artist by Arthur Harington Champernowne (1768–1819), as his great-great-granddaughter Katharine Iris Paull of Chichester (see Comment at FT602) sold it at Sotheby’s on 30 July 1952, lot 10, for £42 to Agnew’s (no.6965), who bought it on behalf of Captain Vivian Bulkeley-Johnson (1890/1891–1968) of The Mount, Oxfordshire. By 1972 it was the property of The Mount Trust Collection whose administrators sold it at Christie’s on 14 November 1972, lot 94, for £3,990 to Baskett & Day on behalf of Paul Mellon (1907–1999), who gave it to the current owner, the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1975.4.961; gift to Yale, December 1975).

Associated People & Organisations

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, December 1975, B1975.4.961
Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999), London, 14 November 1972, GBP 3990, lot 94
Christie's, London, London, 14 November 1972, GBP 3990, lot 94
Captain Vivian Bulkeley-Johnson (1890/91 - 1968), London, 30 July 1952, GBP 42, lot 10
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 30 July 1952, GBP 42, no.6965
Bought on behalf of Captain Vivian Bulkeley-Johnson.
Sotheby's, London, London, 30 July 1952, GBP 42, lot 10
Katharine Iris Paull, 29 July 1952
[?] Arthur Harington Champernowne (1768 - 1819)
Exhibition History
English Watercolour Drawings Annual Exhibition 1980, Spink, 1980, no. 9
Francis Towne, Tate Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, 24 June 1997 - 4 January 1998, no. 56


Borrowdale is a town and valley of the River Derwent, which runs into Derwent Water near Keswick (see the Comment at FT505). The entrance to Borrowdale is at the southern end, furthest from the lake. Towne’s path is now the B5289 road. Towne’s view is also from much the same spot as Joseph Farington’s, which became very widely known through its engraving.1 Towne does not include the bridge, but the drawing by John White Abbott from his 1791 visit follows Farington more nearly.2 Rather than balancing his composition with a clump of trees as did Farington, at the left edge of his image Towne shows Eagle Crag, which appears in two other works (FT511, FT512). There is a yellow sky effect—sunrise?—in the top-right corner, behind the mountain. The top edge of the sheet has a serrated zigzag line that presumably comes from the scissors Towne used to cut the paper down to size.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 W. Byrne and T. Medland after J. Farington, The Entrance to Borrowdale, ca. 1784 (Wordsworth Trust).
  2. 2 John White Abbott, The Entrance to Borrowdale, 1791 (1997 Tate catalogue).

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.