Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View in St John’s in the Vale looking towards Keswick
  • The Vale of St. John, in Cumberland
  • The Vale of St John
Pencil, pen and brown ink, watercolour with gum
  • image width 156mm,
  • image length 337mm
two sheets
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne. delt.1786”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No36 / 5 O Clock in the afternoon / light from the left hand / A View taken in the Vale of St. John looking towards Keswick / in Cumberland August 17, 1786 / by / Francis Towne”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; 1995 Leeds 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 granddaughter Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853–1923) inherited the drawing in 1915 and bequeathed it to her sister Frances Ann Laura Solly (b.1858). Later it was owned by Agnes Lupton (1874–1950) and Norman Darnton Lupton (1875–1953) of Hyde Crook, Dorchester, Dorset, who bequeathed it to the current owner, Leeds City Art Gallery (13.208/53).

Associated People & Organisations

Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, 1953, 13.208/53
Norman Darnton Lupton (1875 - 1953), Dorchester
Agnes Lupton (1874 - 1950), Dorchester
Frances Ann Laura Solly (1858 - alive in 1932), 1923
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923), 1915
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. 63, 64, or 65 as 'The Vale of St. John, in Cumberland', or 88 as 'The Vale of St John'
unidentified exhibition - possibly Art in the Georgian Home, Arts Council, 1949, no. 4
L'Aquarelle anglaise 1750-1850, [organised by the British Council at] Musee Rath, Geneva; L'Ecole Polytechnique Federale, Zurich, 1955, no. 113
English Landscape Painting of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Tokyo and Kyoto, 1970, no. 89
unidentified exhibition, 1972
Still Waters... Watercolours from Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds City Art Gallery, 1995, no. 12
Francis Towne, Tate Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, 24 June 1997 - 4 January 1998, no. 54
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 45, 103, 131
Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds Art Calendar, No. 26: Leeds, 1954, p. 11
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 121
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, pp. 119-120


This is a view just north of Thirlmere looking north into St John’s in the Vale, with Towne perhaps standing on Great How, at the top end of Thirlmere, near the site of FT487. The main road from Ambleside to Keswick is visible on the valley floor. Blencathra is in the far distance and Castle Rock is the protrusion on the right.

Wilcox notes that, as three hours separate this drawing and FT489, Towne must have retreated up the valley to sketch this view, attracted by the play of light on the distant mountain ridges.1

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Wilcox 1997, pp.119–20.

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