Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Near Ambleside
  • Near Ambleside at the head of Lake Windermere
Pencil, pen and grey and brown inks, watercolour, gum
  • image width 157mm,
  • image length 238mm
mounted by the artist on laid paper measuring 222 x 302 mm and bearing a watermark that includes indistinct lettering
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “F.Towne / delt / [“1786” scratched out] No.4”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No 4 / Near Ambleside / drawn on the spot / [“August 7th 1786” scratched out] / by / Francis Towne”
  • in dark brown ink
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. On 17 February 1961 it was sold by a Mrs Merivale to Agnew’s (no.1128) with FT468, FT481, FT512, FT581. She was probably Josephine Merivale, wife of Dr Walter Herman Hodgson Merivale (ca. 1918–1971), and the drawing was probably inherited from his father (?Herman Walter Merivale, b.1898), who was given them by John Herman Merivale’s granddaughter, Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945); however, there is no positive evidence to chart the descent of this particular work to Mrs Merivale in 1961. On 8 March 1961 Agnew’s sold the drawing for £400 to Paul Mellon (1907–1999), who gave it to the current owner, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1977.14.6295; gift to Yale, December 1977).

Associated People & Organisations

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, December 1977, B1977.14.6295
Mr Paul Mellon (1907 - 1999), 8 March 1961, GBP 400
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 17 February 1961, no.1128
Josephine Merivale
Dr Walter Herman Hodgson Merivale (ca. 1918 - 1971)
[?] Herman Walter Merivale (1898)
[?] 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. 61 as 'Near Ambleside at the head of Lake Windermere'
Painting in England 1700-1850, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1963, no. 71


This is another view on the road to Keswick in the vicinity of Ambleside. This is looking north on the Loughrigg side of Rydal, just beyond the Stepping Stones, showing High Pike and Low Pike. The left figure appears to hold his arm up as if pointing to the mountain summit. 

The mount of this drawing is in poor condition and retains much glue from a twentieth- century mount that was formerly attached on top of it. The image itself has dark brown stains around its edges, again presumably from a former mount. This drawing shares both these conditions and the provenance with a view in Borrowdale (FT512). In the left portion of the sky are some feint lines that look like scratching out but may be something else.

by Richard Stephens

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