Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Devon estuary view
  • From the Hill Top (Powderham Castle)
ca. 1813
Pen and ink and blue wash
  • image height 110mm,
  • image width 180mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “From the Hill Top”
  • based on the title given in 1946
Part of
  • 1812-1815 Sketchbook
Object Type
Monochrome wash

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Phillips records; Timothy Wilcox (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 within a sketchbook containing FT733 to FT751. Probably the book was among the “two small sketchbooks and five small drawings late in date” that Judith Merivale sold to Squire Gallery in 1945 for £50, as certainly Squire Gallery owned it, for in late 1945 or early 1946 it was sold by Herbert Milling to the Fine Art Society (no.4031), where on 18 January 1947 it was bought for £26 5s. by Michael Roberts. It was offered for sale at Phillips on 23 April 1990, lot 12, and was in an English private collection in 2013.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 23 April 1990
Phillips, London, 23 April 1990, lot 12
Michael Roberts, 18 January 1947, GBP 26.5s
The Fine Art Society, London, London, no.4031
Squire Gallery, London, 1945, GBP 50
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915
Inherited within a sketchbook containing FT733 to FT751.
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915
Inherited within a sketchbook containing FT733 to FT751.
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Winter Exhibition of Early English Watercolours and Drawings, Fine Art Society, 1946, no. 113 as 'From the Hill Top (Powderham Castle)'
Autumn Exhibition of Early English Water-Colours and Drawings (2nd ed), Fine Art Society, 1946, no. 33


Although this was identified in 1946 as a view showing Powderham Castle, that seems by no means certain. It could be a view looking over the Exe estuary, with Haldon Hill in the extreme distance. If so, perhaps it was drawn in 1813 on the same occasion as FT738.

by Richard Stephens

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