Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • The Island of Lundy
  • View of the coast of the island of Lundy
Pencil, pen and black and brown ink, watercolour
  • image width 132mm,
  • image length 211mm
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne 1787”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “On the North Coast of Devonshire / Island of Lundy / Francis Towne”
  • on cut-down mount, in dark brown ink
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum records (image from website); Paul Oppé notes


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 (BP208). In January 1936 Judith Merivale sold it for £3 10s. to Squire Gallery. In 1951 it was owned by Louis Crispin Warmington (d. ca. 1961/62; see also 404) and is thereafter untraced until sold by a trust at Sotheby’s on 8 July 1982, lot 72, for £1,400 (£1,540 including fees) to Ursula and Gordon Bowyer, who gave it to the British Museum in 2006 (2006,0930.6). Given its likely sale in 1961 or 1962 and its sale in 1982 by a trust, this is probably the “Devonshire landscape of 1787 by Francis Towne” acquired in 1962 by Derek Lockett.

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum, London, 2006, 2006,0930.6
Gordon Bowyer, 8 July 1982, GBP 1540
Ursula Bowyer, 8 July 1982, GBP 1540
Sotheby's, London, London, 8 July 1982, lot 72
[?] Derek Lockett ( - 1993), 1962
Louis Crispin Warmington ( - ca. 1961/62), 1951
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP208
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP208
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. 46
Light, time, legacy: Francis Towne’s watercolours of Rome, British Museum, 2016
Francis W. Hawcroft, The Clonterbrook Collection of Early English Drawing and Watercolours, [reprinted from the Old Water Colour Society's Club Annual Volume]: 1970, p. 7
Benjamin Donn, 'A Map of the County of Devon', Benjamin Donn: A Commemorative Volume, Devon and Cornwall Record Society and The University of Exeter: Exeter, 1965, plate 1a


Lundy is an island off the north coast of Devon.1

On the verso of this drawing is a river study in pencil, with traces of pen and brown ink, which Oppé linked with the style of a drawing of Roche Rock in Cornwall dated 1796 (FT587). However, it seems more likely to be the remnant of a Bolognese-style pen and ink landscape, with parallel hatchings comprising tree trunks, branches, and rocks.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Donn 1965, pl.1a.

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