Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View from the Cascade in the Groves at Ambleside
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour
  • image width 377mm,
  • image length 265mm
mounted by the artist on paper watermarked with a fleur-de-lis and coronet
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne / delt. 1786”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “A View from the Cascade in the Grove at / Ambleside the Head of the Lake of / Windermere drawn on the Spot / by / Francis Towne August 10th. 1786 / NB The paper this is drawn on I brought / myself from Rome”
Object Type

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


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 (BP140) and gave it in 1922 to the current owner, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (no.1823).

Associated People & Organisations

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1922, no.1823
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP140
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP140
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 96 or 97 as 'Cascade in the Groves'
British Watercolours A Golden Age 1750-1850, J.B. Speed Art Museum, 1977, no. 21
Eighteenth Century Master Drawings from the Ashmolean, Baltimore Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth; Cincinnati Art Museum; and Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 1979, no. 52
The Discovery of the Lake District, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1984, no. 94
Old Master Drawings from the Ashmolean Museum, Ashmolean Museum, 1992, no. 93
Francis Towne, Tate Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, 24 June 1997 - 4 January 1998, no. 57
David Blaney Brown, Ashmolean Museum Catalogue of Drawings Vol 4: Earlier English Drawings, Clarendon: Oxford, 1982, pp. 628-629
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 95, 130
Martin Hardie, Water-Colour Painting in Britain, ed. Dudley Snelgrove, London: B. T. Batsford, 1966, p. 123
Luke Herrmann, British Landscape Painting of the 18th Century, Faber: London, 1973, pp. 77-78
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 121


This is one of four watercolours of Stock Ghyll Force in Ambleside.

by Richard Stephens

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.