Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View by Moonlight
No date
Pen and grey ink, watercolour
  • image width 159mm,
  • image length 197mm
on paper watermarked with an ornamented fleur-de-lis and a Whatman cypher
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne. / delt 1792”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “a View by Moonlight / in the Bunhay at Exeter / Francis Towne delt
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Bower 1998; Museum records (image)


Untraced until bought by Paul Oppé (1878–1957; no.507) at Foster’s on 9 March 1916 and sold by his descendants in 1996 with the rest of Oppé’s collection to the present owner, the Tate Gallery (T08572).

Associated People & Organisations

Tate, London, 1996, T08572
Adolph Paul Oppé (1878 - 1957), 9 March 1916, no.507
Foster's auctioneers (1883 - 1940), 27 July 1910
Sold as a group with FT228, FT257, FT283, FT284, FT296, FT310, FT318, FT319, FT325, FT326, FT327, FT329, FT330, FT339, FT340, FT361, FT793 and a drawing by an unidentified pupil.
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Works from The Paul Oppe Collection, Royal Academy, 1958, no. 101
Peter Bower, 'Drawing Paper in the 18th and 19th centuries: Papers from the Opp_ Collection, part 2', The Quarterly Journal of the British Association of Paper Historians: [?] London, 1998, p. 19
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 146
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 125
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 128


The Bonhay was an area on the southern edge of Exeter near the new bridge. Oppé considered this an “unusual attempt for water-colour . . . naif in parts but remarkable for the dryness with which the darkness is treated and some success in the representation of moonlight on the water”.1

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Oppé 1920, p.125.

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