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Francis Towne (1739-1816)


Francis Towne (1739-1816)

The landscape painter, Francis Towne, spent most of his life in Exeter, earning his living as a drawing master, and sending work to exhibitions in London, where he had only moderate success. However, he was rediscovered and reappraised in the early twentieth century, and is now considered one of the most innovative watercolourists of his age.

Francis Towne was baptised at All Saints, Isleworth, Middlesex, on 19 August 1739, one of the five children of William Towne, a corn chandler, and his wife, Lydia. At the age of 13, he was apprenticed to Thomas Brookshead, a London coach painter. his progress was acknowledged seven years later, near the end of his apprenticeship, when he was awarded a first prize for ‘an original design’ by the Society of Arts. he then undertook some further study at St Martin’s Lane Academy, and with the court portraitist, John Shackleton, and began to exhibit paintings, usually in oil, at the Society of Artists (1762) and the Free Society (1763).

Around 1763, Towne was employed by the coach painter, Thomas Watson, in Long Acre.

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Architecture
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