Extract from Charles Townley's Will

Dated 29 November 1802

The Museum acquires an important collection of classical antiquities

From the time of his first Grand Tour in 1768 until his death in 1805, Charles Townley built up a fine collection of antiquities. He fully intended to leave this collection to the British Museum, as seen in this copy of his will. However, shortly before his death he decided to leave it to the care of his brother Edward and his uncle John Townley on the condition that the sculptures should be exhibited in a purpose-built gallery. Ideally, he would have liked an extension to Townley Hall, his Lancashire home. However, funds were not available for his wishes to be met so the collection was offered to the British Museum, where a a purpose-built space was soon provided. The Townley Gallery opened in June 1808 and provided 'a proper repository open at proper times...' in the spirit of Townley's will.

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Extract from Charles Townley's Will

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More information


B.F. Cook, The Townley Marbles (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)

A. Wilton and I. Bignamini (eds.), Grand Tour: the lure of Italy (London, Tate Gallery Publishing, 1996)


Museum number

Archives TY 18/2


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