Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • View from Powis Castle towards Welshpool
ca. 1777 - 1815
Pen and ink, watercolour
  • image width 108mm,
  • image length 184mm
  • sheet, recto, lower right
  • “F.Towne / delt”
  • sheet, verso
  • “View from Powis Castle towards Welshpool”
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Paul Oppé records; Agnew’s records (image)


Probably 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 (BP127) and gave it to their nephew Herman Walter Merivale (b.1898) in 1924. He was probably the father of Dr Walter Herman Hodgson Merivale (ca. 1918–1971), who sold it on 21 October 1966 to Agnew’s (no.6500) for £900 with FT236. On 23 January 1967 Agnew’s sold it to a private collector, whereafter it is untraced.

Associated People & Organisations

Private Collection, 23 January 1967
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 21 October 1966, GBP 900, no.6500
Acquired with FT236
Dr Walter Herman Hodgson Merivale (ca. 1918 - 1971)
Herman Walter Merivale (1898), 1924
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP127
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP127
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
94th Annual Exhibition of Watercolours and Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1967, no. 47 as 'View from Powis Castle towards Welshpool'
Henry Penruddocke Wyndham, A Tour Through Monmouthshire and Wales Made in the Months of June and July 1774 and in the months of June, July and August 1777: Salisbury, 1781, p. 189


Powis Castle is just outside Welshpool, about eighteen miles west of Shrewsbury.

Powis Castle rises from an eminence about a mile distant from Welshpool; the gardens still retain their original form, and are laid out in expensive parallel terraces, hanging over each other, (in the taste introduced by King William) and bordered with fantastic yews, and other formal evergreens. The castle is still inhabited, but has more the appearance of a long-neglected mansion, than that of a comfortable house. . . . The prospect from the castle is extensive and fine, it commands a very broad, fertile and beautiful vale.1

Paul Oppé’s note of this work reads: “127BP Welshpool. F Towne delt 4½ x 7¼ [114 x 184 mm] Framed. Very small, brushed in strokes, blue green & yellow. Almost certainly later colour, monochrome[?] lakes[?], hatched tree.”2 The drawing described by Paul Oppé is identified with the one sold at Agnew’s in 1967 on the grounds that both share an unusually small size and both depict Welshpool. The Agnew’s drawing also features a hatched tree. Although the drawing is here catalogued alongside works from the 1777 tour of Wales, its date is somewhat doubtful: Oppé observed that the colouring was a late addition, and the paper’s size is the same as the sheets of Towne’s 1812–1815 sketchbook (FT733 to FT751). On the other hand, the pen work is nothing like the 1812–15 work and is consistent with a date in the 1770s.

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 Wyndham 1781, p.189.
  2. 2 Paul Oppé records: notes, ca. 1915.

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