Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • Walensee
ca. 1781/09/04
Pencil, pen and brown ink, grey wash
  • image width 154mm,
  • image length 209mm
  • sheet, verso
  • “Lake of Walenstadt / light from the left hand / Septr 4th. 1781 / No.47 / Francis Towne”
  • in brown ink over pencil up to “1781”, thereafter brown ink only
Object Type
Monochrome wash

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. Merivale’s granddaughters Maria Sophia Merivale (1853–1928) and Judith Ann Merivale (1860–1945), both of Oxford, inherited the drawing in May 1915 (BP77). In November 1935 Judith Merivale sold it to Paul Oppé (1878–1957; no.2115) for £15 with five other drawings (FT306, FT328, FT332, FT336, FT350). His descendants sold it in 1996 with the rest of Oppé’s collection to the present owner, the Tate Gallery (T08574).

Associated People & Organisations

Tate, London, 1996, T08574
Adolph Paul Oppé (1878 - 1957), London, November 1935, GBP 15, no.2115
Judith Ann Merivale (1860 - 1945), Oxford, May 1915, BP77
Maria Sophia Merivale (1853 - 1928), Oxford, May 1915, BP77
John Herman Merivale (1779 - 1844), 1825
James White (1744 - 1825), Exeter, 1816
Exhibition History
76th Annual Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1949, no. 19
Exhibition of Works from The Paul Oppe Collection, Royal Academy, 1958, no. 96
Exhibition of Works from The Paul Oppe Collection, National Gallery of Canada, 1961, no. 87
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 146


See the Comment at FT334.

This is a view taken from the vicinity of Weesen, looking broadly south-west across Walensee to the entrance to the Glarus valley. The pointed summit at the centre of Towne’s sketch is Rautispitz. The valley floor is broader than Towne has shown it, and the walls of the valley at the left and right, which Towne has brought together here to create a more crowded and dramatic scene, are spaced more widely apart. FT365 shows essentially the same scene—of the entry to the valley of Glarus—but viewed from a somewhat different place and drawn while entering the valley, not having left it.

by Richard Stephens

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