Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • A View near Canon Teign in Devon
1772/09/26 - 1773
Pen and grey ink, grey and light brown washes
  • image width 308mm,
  • image length 251mm
mounted by the artist
  • artist's mount, recto
  • "Francis Towne delt. / A SCENE NEAR CANON-TEIGN / 1773"
  • artist's mount, verso
  • "A View near Canon:teign in the County of Devon drawn on the spot September 26th 1772 by Francis Towne No.2"
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object


The drawing was bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), on whose death it reverted 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 (no BP number was allocated). By April 1924 it was “in the possession of Miss Urmson 23 Leckford Road. Oxford”, presumably Barbara Edith Urmson (b.1886) (see also FT030). In 1962 Bertram Nowell Williams (b.1909 and still alive in 2009) bought the drawing “from a gallery in Liverpool” (letter, 6 May 2009, from his daughter, Angela Yule); he sold it at Christie’s on 6 November 1973, lot 210 (see also FT877), where it was bought by Wadsworth. It was again sold at Christie’s on 21 November 1978, lot 24, where it was bought for £1,500 by a private collector, who retained it in 2006. In 2009 it was on sale at Lowell Libson.

Associated People & Organisations

Christie's, London
Lowell Libson
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844)
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945)
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928)
Private Collection
Barbara Edith Urmson (1886)
James White (1744 - 1825)
Bertram Nowell Williams (1909)
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 1 or 2 as 'Canon-teign, Devonshire'
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 36


This drawing is presented in a mount inscribed with the subject and date in the same way as a view of Oakhampton made around the same time (FT030). In its upright format directing the viewer’s eye upwards towards the rock it is similar to Richard Wilson’s view of Lydford waterfall, painted for Lord Courtenay ca. 1771–2, which Towne very probably knew (see Comment at FT029). In this drawing of Canon Teign, therefore, Towne may well be reflecting a new local taste for unclassicising views of local landmarks that Courtenay’s Wilson may have stimulated.

The writing shows Towne’s very neat hand in the early part of his career, similar to the hand in the landscape with horseman oil study (FT022).

Towne produced a second version of this drawing perhaps twenty or more years later (FT564), in an oval shape, and lacking the strong pen outline of the source drawing. 

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.