Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Borrowdale
ca. 1786/08
Pencil (?), pen and brown ink, watercolour
  • image width 95mm,
  • image length 155mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, verso
  • “No 27[?]”
  • in dark ink, indistinctly (though the paper)
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Burrow Dale”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Leger Galleries records; Sotheby’s records (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 Mary Ann “Molly” Loveband (b.1865, alive in 1951) inherited the drawing in 1915 and her daughter Joyce Merivale Loveband (b.1895, alive in 1981) sold it at Sotheby’s on 16 July 1981, lot 93, for £3,400 to Leger Galleries, where it was bought by Dorothy Scharf (d.2004), who bequeathed it to the current owner, the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Associated People & Organisations

Courtauld Gallery, London, London, 2004, D.2007.DS.40
Dorothy Scharf ( - 2004)
Leger Galleries, London, 16 July 1981, GBP 3400
Sotheby's, London, London, 16 July 1981, lot 93
Joyce Merivale Loveband (1895)
Mary Ann Loveband (1865 - alive in 1951), 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. 56 as 'Burrowdale', or 58 or (just possibly) 59 as 'The Grange at the head of Keswick Lake'
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 55
Exhibition of English Watercolours, Leger Galleries, 1981, no. 6
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 150 (as one of Two Swiss Scenes)


In the Leger catalogue of 1981 the mountain in the background is identified as part of the southern face of Blencathra, although in 2006 the Dove Cottage curator considered it more likely to be the northern part of Glaramara, seen looking south from the Borrowdale valley. This would make sense of Towne’s inscription, as Blencathra is some distance from Borrowdale. Its general compositional resemblance to a view of Grange (FT502) also makes it an outside candidate for one of the two views of Grange that Towne exhibited in 1805 (see also FT502). Conceivably, too, it was the Grange, Borrowdale 1786 exhibited at Agnew’s in 1935 (no.107), although the Merivale provenance as late as 1981 makes this unlikely.

by Richard Stephens

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