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Towne is best-known for his distinctive topographical watercolours but, throughout his career, he also worked in oils. This charming Devonshire landscape has the characteristic crisp outlines, delicate colour and tonal variations of his watercolours.
This is a fine example of the country-house portrait, a genre that was extremely popular in the eighteenth century. The wealthy country gentry took great pride in their property and were keen for artists to show their expansive estates to advantage. The question of land ownership was of great importance at this time, for the power of the government in England largely resided with the landowners, who remained firmly rooted on their estates.

September 2004