Unidentified circle of Towne
  • Cheltenham
No date
Pencil, pen and brown ink, grey wash
  • image height 370mm,
  • image width 240mm
on paper with a fleur-de-lis watermark
  • sheet, recto
  • top right, “28”, and centre bottom, “Cheltenham Octr.11 1812” in brown ink
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination (image)


From a group of about forty drawings, nine of which were in the collection of Iolo Anuerin Williams (1890–1962) and offered for sale by his family at Sotheby’s on 25 November 2004, lot 134, where they did not sell. Eighteen drawings were sold from Appleby Brothers, ca. 1958, and entered the collection of Ian Fleming-Williams; these were sold at Christie’s South Kensington on 21 July 2015, lot 463 (information about this lot was kindly communicated by Susan Sloman). Three further examples are in the Britten-Pears Library at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, and one at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection
Sotheby's, London, London, 25 November 2004
lot 134
Iolo Anuerin Williams (1890 - 1962)


Martin Hardie identified “forty or so” works by the same hand, whom he named the “Worthing Draughtsman”, but whose initials appear to be N. P., judging from one of the drawings. They have dates between 1809 and 1832, though most of these are from 1815 or before.1 The subjects are all landscapes, in pen and wash, or pen and watercolour. The draughtsman sketched widely across the English midlands and elsewhere: at Maidstone, Kent (October 1809); Aldeburgh, Suffolk (August and September 1812); Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (October 1812); Worthing and Bognor, Sussex (August 1813); North Wales (September 1813); Cowes, Sussex (June 1814); Maidstone, Kent (July 1814); Warwick and Kenilworth, Warwickshire (September 1814); Wroxton, Oxfordshire (December 1815); Weavering, Kent (October 1820); Maidstone, Kent (June 1821); and at Compton Verney, Warwickshire (1832). Most of these sketches were the produce of summer tours, but repeated visits to Maidstone (including to Mote House in 1814 and 1821) may signal some family or work connection there.

Iolo Williams’s note on one of his drawings states that it (and, presumably, the rest) was bought from Walker’s Galleries as by Joseph Farington, but that it was clearly not by him but by a “‘Farington-Towne’ amateur hand”. Most use a strong pen line, monochrome wash, and flat structures, which, while reminiscent of Towne, do not decisively indicate an association; this manner of drawing was common among amateur artists of the period. However, the sketch of Cheltenham is closest of all to Towne’s approach to lighting and composition, and drawn with his characteristic flat grey washes and strong brown pen line making curly foliage marks. John Herman Merivale drew this view, too, in the 1801 sketchbook now in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (FT888). Perhaps Towne recommended this view as suitable for these pupils to draw, for surely a student travelling with a sketchbook would have sought the advice of his or her teacher on this subject.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Hardie 1966, vol.3, p.267.

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