Oakhampton Castle

Oakhampton Castle



Francis Towne (1740-1816)
Okehampton Castle, Devon

Inscribed verso:
Oakhampton Castle
Pen and grey ink and grey washes on laid paper
20 by 32.3 cm., 7 ¾ by 12 ¾ in.

James White of Exeter (1745-1825);
John Herman Merivale of Barton Place (1779-1844);
Thence by descent until 2011

Richard Stephens has suggested that this on-the-spot sketch dates from between 1777 and 1786 and might date from the summer of 1783 when Towne drew a number of Devon views in pen and grey wash such as `Combe Martin Bay' in the National Gallery of Art, Washington (
2001.135.1). The town of Okehampton is 25 miles west of Exeter where Towne lived from 1767 until 1780 and where he kept a home for the rest of his life. A view of Oakhampton town and castle dating from 1772 is in Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery with another version in the Yale Center for British Art (see Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, exhibition catalogue, 1997, no. 1, and fig. 10).

This drawing passed to Towne's lifelong friend and executor James White and, as decreed by Towne's estate, then passed to John Herman Merivale, the son another friend. It has been passed down in the Merivale family until last year.