Francis Towne (Biographical details)

Francis Towne (painter/draughtsman; British; Male; 1739 - 1816)

Also known as

Towne, Francis


Watercolourist, b. London, trained in London as a coach painter before attending St Martin's Lane Academy, later (from c. 1764) lived in Exeter, where was a drawing master, although he spent late spring and summer in London every year and exhibited regularly at the RA and later at the British Institution; returned to London in 1807?. To Switzerland and Italy in 1780-1. Bequeathed Italian albums to BM.
There has been confusion about his date and place of birth, which was resolved by R. Stephens (1996): 'Far from being a native of Devon, Towne was from Isleworth in Middlesex, eight miles west of London. His father, William Towne, was a cornchandler, whose wife was called Lydia. Francis was baptised at All Saints', Isleworth, on 19th August 1739, and seems to have been the youngest child of the family.'


A.P. Oppé, article in Walpole Society, vol. 8, 1919-20
Adrian Bury, 'Francis Towne', Old Watercolour Society Club, 1961; also exhibition catalogue Marble Hill, 1973.
Timothy Wilcox, 'Francis Towne', exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997; Richard Stephens, 'A Catalogue of the works of Francis Towne', unpublished Ph.D.thesis, Birkbeck College, London, 2005; and 'New Material for Francis Towne's Biography', The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 138, No. 1121 (Aug., 1996), pp. 500-505; 'Francis Towne's Views of Rome', British Art Journal, X, no. 3, 2010, pp.46-55.
Richard Stephens, A Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739-1816), online at (published by Paul Mellon Centre for British Art)