Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Oakhampton Castle
Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 237mm,
  • image length 346mm
paper has a crease mark down the centre
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “Francis Towne delt. 1794”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “Okehampton Castle in the County of Devon / drawn by Francis Towne 1794.”
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 reverted to Towne’s residuary legatee John Herman Merivale (1779–1844) and his successors. Merivale’s granddaughter Emily Harriet Buckingham (b.1853) inherited it in May 1915, and in 1928 it was given by three of her sisters Henrietta Maria Turner (b.1861), Frances Ann Laura Solly (b.1858), and Mary Ann Loveband (b.1865) to its present owner, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (104/1928).

Associated People & Organisations

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, 1928, 104/1928
Mary Ann Loveband (1865 - alive in 1951), 1927
Frances Ann Laura Solly (1858 - alive in 1932), 1927
Henrietta Maria Turner, 1927
Emily Harriet Buckingham (1853 - 1923), May 1915
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
Loan Exhibition: English Watercolours and Drawings from Local Collections, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1949, no. 12
Three Exeter Artists of the Eighteenth Century: Francis Hayman RA, Francis Towne, John White Abbott, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1951, no. 79
Paintings and Drawings by Francis Towne and John White Abbott in the collection of Exeter Museums and Art Gallery, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1971, no. 8
Francis Towne & John White Abbott: Paintings and Watercolours from the Exeter Museums and Art Gallery, Marble Hill House, 1973, no. 8
Jane C. Baker, Catalogue of Oil Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Sculpture, Exeter Museums: Exeter, 1978, p. 118
Paul Oppé, 'Francis Towne, Landscape Painter', The Walpole Society: London, 1920, pp. 122-123


This is a highly worked up drawing, featuring the heavy colouring of the kind seen on drawings of Tivoli (FT252, FT253, FT269), two of which were mounted on paper watermarked with the year “1794”. The group of trees at the left is similar to the group in an undated Lidford drawing (FT566), which, however, is not so highly finished as this. 

Oppé’s mention of this drawing in the 1920 Walpole article implies that this is a later studio watercolour based on an on-the-spot sketch; however, it is not clear on what basis he came to that conclusion. Either it “belongs to the same group” as the Acland commissions of 1788 to 1790 (FT548 to FT556), in the sense that it was commissioned by the Aclands around the same time, or else—like the Acland group—it is among the “water-colour drawings which are known to have been made on commission or are dated much later than the sketches . . . For several of these the original sketches are in the Barton Place portfolios.”1 There is now no evidence linking this drawing to the Aclands, and it is possible that Oppé was simply making a judgment based on the drawing style.

Louisa Drury made a copy of this sketch (FT580a). 

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Oppé 1920, p.122.

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