Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Castle of Dinas
  • Castle of Dinas (Banks of the Dee)
  • North Wales: On the banks of the Dee
ca. 1777/07/17
Pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 241mm,
  • image length 305mm
mounted by the artist[?]
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Castle of Dinas drawn on the spot [with an erased date]” and numbered “39”
  • The Barton Place catalogue calls this drawing Castle of Dinas (Banks of the Dee) and Agnew’s Drawing Book calls it North Wales: On the Banks of the Dee
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Paul Oppé records; Agnew’s records


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 (BP121). On 1 November 1934 they sold it for £25 to Agnew’s (no.11622), where it was bought by Thomas Sherrer Ross Boase (1898–1974), whereafter it is untraced. It is perhaps the Banks of the Dee near Llangollen 1777, with the same dimensions as this drawing, which was sold at Christie’s on 7 March 1947, lot 100, to Gersheim for £50 8s. (alternatively FT100 or FT105).

Associated People & Organisations

[?] Gersheim [Sersheim?], 7 March 1947, GBP 50 8s
[?] Christie's, London, London, 7 March 1947, lot 100
Thomas Sherrer Ross Boase (1898 - 1974), 1 November 1934, GBP 25
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 1 November 1934, GBP 25, no.11622
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP121
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP121
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. 27, 28, 29 or 43 as 'Banks of the Dee'
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, p. 108
Henry Penruddocke Wyndham, A Tour Through Monmouthshire and Wales Made in the Months of June and July 1774 and in the months of June, July and August 1777: Salisbury, 1781, p. 175


Paul Oppé’s note reads: “121. Practically same view [as FT100] spot date erased on back same size. Same crumbled trees only coloured here also uniform. On R hand[. . .]”1 On the basis of the Barton Place description of it as Banks of the Dee, this drawing is suggested as a possible 1805 exhibit of that title. As Oppé says that this drawing is practically the same view as FT100, it also qualifies as a possible 1805 exhibit.

The hilltop Castle of Dinas, famously depicted by Richard Wilson in his two pictures exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1771, was evidently seen here from the road along the Dee, which leads into Llangollen, as Oppé says this drawing is practically the same view as FT100, which is inscribed “near Llangollen. July 17 1777 a view in the Road”. Wyndham took the same route:

Following the high bank of the transparent Dee, [we] arrived at Llangollen. This is a miserable town, though in respect of romantic scenery, it is scarcely to be equalled by any situation in Wales. It lies in a small dale, closely environed with high mountains, the declivities of which are finely contrasted with a variety of woods, rocks and torrents. On the point of one of these (which, insulated and widely separated from the others, rises in the form of a sugar loaf to the perpendicular height of six hundred yards,) stand the conspicuous ruins of the castle Dinas Brân.2

This was probably drawn on 17 July 1777, as four of Towne’s Dee Valley views bear that date.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Paul Oppé records: notes, ca. 1915.
  2. 2 Wyndham 1781, p.175.

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