Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Chepstow Castle
  • A View of Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour with gum
  • image width 299mm,
  • image length 480mm
paper with a vertical crease down its centre
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne / delt. 1777. No.48”
  • sheet, verso
  • “A View of Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire, drawn on the spot by Francis Towne, 1777 [“1777” scratched out and reinserted]”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Museum 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 granddaughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP126). On 24 May 1921 they sold it (also FT072, FT074, FT086, FT260) to Agnew’s (no.9954) for £30 for onward sale the same day (for £350 with FT072, FT074, FT086, FT108, FT237, FT260, FT366, FT469, FT504) to the current owner, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, in 1921 (1921P89).

Associated People & Organisations

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 24 May 1921, GBP 350, 1921P89
Acquired with with FT072, FT074, FT086, FT108, FT237, FT260, FT366, FT469, FT504
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 24 May 1921, GBP 30, no.9954
Acquired with FT072, FT074, FT086, FT260
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 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. 38 as 'Chepstow Castle'
De Englese Aquarel uit de 18de Eeuw, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Albertina, Vienna, 1965, no. 121
Two Centuries of English Painting, National Gallery, Prague; National Slovak Gallery, Bratislava, 1969, no. 135
Wales and the Wye Valley, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 1970, no. 31
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 134


A 1791 view of Chepstow by John White Abbott shows his debt to Towne, but both artists used much the same viewpoint as Paul Sandby’s aquatint of September 1777. Towne, whose view pre-dates Sandby’s, may have had in mind John Inigo Richards’s Royal Academy exhibit of 1776 (National Museum of Wales).

by Richard Stephens

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