Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • The West Front of Tintern Abbey
  • Tintern Abbey
Pen and grey ink, watercolour
  • image width 290mm,
  • image length 370mm
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne delt. / 1777 No.49”
  • sheet, verso
  • “the West Front of Tintern Abbey. Drawn on the Spot / July 25th 1777”
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “1777”
  • recorded as inscribed, signed, and dated
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Sotheby’s records; 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 grandson George Montagu Merivale (b.1855) of Sydney, Australia, inherited the drawing and it descended through the family of his daughter Angel Merivale (b.1884) until it was offered for sale by Mrs R. Madoc at Sotheby’s on 15 July 1976, lot 40b, and at Christie’s on 20 March 1979, lot 136, where it seems to have been left unsold, as it was sold at Lawrence of Crewkerne on 22 May 1980, lot 84, for £1,400. It was sold at Christie’s on 1 July 2013, lot 75, for £18,750 to the current owner, Chepstow Museum and Art Gallery.

Associated People & Organisations

Chepstow Chepstow Museum and Art Gallery, Gwent, Monmouthshire, 1 July 2013, GBP 18750
Christie's, London, London, 1 July 2013, lot 75
Private Collection, 22 May 1980, GBP 1400
Lawrence of Crewkerne, Crewkerne, 20 May 1980, lot 84
Christie's, London, London, 20 March 1979, lot 136
Sotheby's, London, London, 15 July 1976, lot 40b
Apparently unsold
R. Madoc
Angel Merivale (1884 - ?)
George Montagu Merivale (1855 - ?), Sydney
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. 48 as 'Tintern Abbey'


Tintern Abbey is halfway between Monmouth and Chepstow in the Wye valley. The popularity of both ruin and valley was much increased by William Gilpin’s book, Observations on the River Wye and Several Parts of South Wales &c relative chiefly to picturesque beauty, made in the Summer of the Year 1770, published in 1782.

by Richard Stephens

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