People & Organisations

Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)

Towne family

Watercolourist, b. London, trained in London as a coach painter before attending St Martin's Lane Academy, later (from c. 1764) lived in Exeter, where was a drawing master, although he spent late spring and summer in London every year and exhibited regularly at the RA and later at the British Institution; returned to London in 1807?.

There has been confusion about his date and place of birth, which was resolved by Richard Stephens:[fn]Richard Stephens, 'New Material for Francis Towne's Biography', The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 138, No. 1121 (Aug., 1996), pp. 500-505[/fn] 'Far from being a native of Devon, Towne was from Isleworth in Middlesex, eight miles west of London. His father, William Towne, was a cornchandler, whose wife was called Lydia. Francis was baptised at All Saints', Isleworth, on 19th August 1739, and seems to have been the youngest child of the family.'

Study for a portrait of Mr Francis Towne of Exeter, Landscape Painter

Figure 1.
John Downman, Study for a portrait of Mr Francis Towne of Exeter, Landscape Painter, charcoal, touched with red chalk and heightened with white, 1795


Digital image courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum

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