Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Eagle Crag, Borrowdale
ca. 1786/08
Pencil, pen and grey and brown inks, watercolour
  • image width 210mm,
  • image length 330mm
on paper with a Vryheyt watermark with the initials of Joseph Portal, ca. 1779 (according to the 1978 Christie’s catalogue), mounted by the artist
mounted by the artist
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Eagle Cragg, Bull Cragg and hanging Hay Stack / Langstrath Beck turning sharply to the left at the foreground”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Sotheby's records (image); Christie'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. The drawing is or was inscribed with the name “Rose” or “Rose Merivale”. This is perhaps John Herman Merivale’s daughter Rose Mary Merivale (b.1823, alive 1901) or, perhaps more likely, Rosamund Merivale (b.1912, later Mrs MacBrien). By 1951 it was the property of Canon Francis Henry Dumville Smythe (1872/1873–1966), who sold it at Christie’s on 13 March 1961, lot 161, for £304 10s. including fees to Agnew’s (no.1230), who sold it on 17 March 1961 to Joseph Hawksley Elliot of Sheffield (1884–1978), whose daughter sold it at Christie’s on 22 March 1978, lot 85, for £1,350. It was again sold at Christie’s on 22 March 1988, lot 47, for £4,200. It was withdrawn from sale at Sotheby’s on 15 June 2000, lot 185, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Sotheby's, London, London, 15 June 2000, lot 185
Withdrawn from sale at Sotheby's on 15 June 2000
Private Collection, 22 March 1988, GBP 4200
Christie's, London, London, 22 March 1988, lot 47
Private Collection, 22 March 1978, GBP 1350
Christie's, London, London, 22 March 1978, lot 85
Joseph Hawksley Elliot (1884 - 1978), Sheffield, 17 March 1961
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 13 March 1961, GBP 304 10s, no.1230
Christie's, London, London, 13 March 1961, lot 161
Joseph Hawksley Elliot (1884 - 1978), 17 March 1961
Canon Francis Henry Dumville Smythe (1872/73 - 1966), 1951
[?] Rosamund MacBrien (née Merivale, later Young) (1912)
[?] Rose Mary Merivale (1823 - 1902)
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. 78 as 'Eagle Cragg, Burrowdale'
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 62
English Watercolours from the Collection of the Revd. Canon F. H. D. Smythe, South London Art Gallery, 1954, no. 95


This is a view of Langstrathdale, south-east of Borrowdale in the Borrowdale Fells near Stonethwaite and Rossthwaite. Eagle Crag is the big lump to the left of centre and the river is a branch of the Derwent. FT512 is an almost identical view except for the treatment of foreground.

by Richard Stephens

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