FRANCIS TOWNE (BRITISH 1739 – 1816)
View from Barton Place
Pen and ink over pencil
23.5 x 16.4 cm (9 3/8 x 6 1/2 in)
Provenance: With Thos. Agnew & Sons. Ltd., No. 28016
Barton Place, Exeter was the family home of the Merivale family. John Herman Merivale (1779-1844) was a noted and accomplished scholar, and a friend of Lord Byron, who praised his translations and original poems, and a great patron of Francis Towne. The Merivale’s were part of a group in Exeter with whom Francis Towne was engaged professionally and socially, which included James White, and his nephew John White Abbott, William Jackson, and John Downman. Towne gave art classes to the Merivale children at Barton Place, and was always afforded a warm welcome by the family. Merivale, James White, and Towne formed a firm friendship, and when feeling the need for a change of scenery, Towne made an excursion with the two of them to the Lake District in 1786. Towne also made Merivale the ultimate beneficiary of his estate, including his drawings and paintings. Many of these drawings were discovered hidden away in folios in Barton Place by Paul Oppe.