Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Hadrian's Villa
Pencil, pen and black ink, watercolour
  • image width 162mm,
  • image length 222mm
wove paper
  • sheet, verso
  • “No.40 / May 22 1781 / Villa Adriano light from the left-hand side afternoon / Francis Towne”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Examination; Christie's 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 (BP15). Judith Merivale sold it to Squire Gallery for £3 10s. on 22 January 1936 (Herbert Milling of Squire Gallery visited Judith Merivale in November 1933 and expressed an interest then in buying this drawing). Sir William Worsley, Bt (1890–1973) bought it from Squire in 1953 for £150, and his family offered it for sale unsuccessfully at Christie’s on 5 June 2003, lot 42, and again at Christie’s on 2 July 2013, where again it did not sell. In 2014 Guy Peppiatt was offering it for sale.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection
Guy Peppiatt, London, 2014
Christie's, London, London, 2 July 2013
Christie's, London, London, 5 June 2003, lot 42
Sir William Worsley (1890 - 1973), 1953, GBP 150
Squire Gallery, London, 22 January 1936, GBP 3.10s
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP15
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP15
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Early English Water Colours, Leeds City Art Gallery, 8 October 1958 to 23 November 1958, no. 93
unidentified exhibition, Oscar & Peter Johnson, 1963, no. 32
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, pp. 95, 143
Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, Tate Publishing: London, 1997, p. 58
Sir William Worsley, Early English Water-Colours at Hovingham Hall: 1963, p. 13


This drawing is of the Sala dei Filosofi, part of the vast site of Hadrian’s Villa near Tivoli.

by Richard Stephens

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