Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Exmouth Beach
  • Cliffs and Sea near Exmouth
ca. 1790 - 1800
Pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 231mm,
  • image length 372mm
two sheets of paper
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Museum records (image)


Untraced until exhibited in 1956 at the Leger Galleries, where it was bought in 1961 (no.768576) by the present owner, Bolton Art Gallery (1961.5). Possibly this is the “Exmouth” sold by the Fine Art Society on 2 February 1946 to P. B. H.[? or A.] Lod for £63. As the rump of Judith Merivale’s collection was sold off posthumously in 1945/46, that may well be where this drawing came from.

Associated People & Organisations

Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Bolton, 1961.5
Leger Galleries, London, 1961, no.768576
[?] Lod, P B H/A, 2 February 1946, GBP 63
[?] The Fine Art Society, London, London, 2 February 1946
[?] Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), 1946
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 9 as 'Cliffs and Sea near Exmouth'
[?] Autumn Exhibition of Early English Water-Colours and Drawings (2nd ed), Fine Art Society, 1946, no. 124 as 'Exmouth'
unidentified exhibition, Durham Museums, 1984
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 27


Leger Galleries records suggest this is a study of Shakespeare Cliff. On grounds of style, it dates from ca. 1790 to ca. 1800. It may be associated with the only other known Exmouth work, which is dated 1 September 1794 (FT579), or perhaps with slightly later views on the Exe estuary such as at Topsham in 1799 (FT603) and at Cockwood (FT631).

A brief review of the 1956 exhibition at Leger Galleries was published in the Listener: “An exhibition of early English watercolours at the Leger Galleries is worth a visit if only for the sake of the two Cotmans and the beach scene by Francis Towne.”1

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Listener, 27 December 1956.

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