Wigan 1763 – 1840 London
Two horses in a landscape
Oil on canvas
60 x 100 cm
Christie’s London 9th November 1951, lot 146, sold by Monty Bernard for 8gns to Mr. Schaeffer; Private Argentinian collection;
The son of a portrait painter, Towne began his training as a landscape artist under John Rathbone before moving to Liverpool where he became a coach and ornamental painter. While in Liverpool he was deeply influenced by the work of George Stubbs and by 1790 had become an established animal painter regularly exhibiting in Liverpool. At this time he was patronized by Henry Blundell of Ince Blundell, who was also a major patron of Stubbs and a collector of importance. In 1799 he moved to London and began exhibiting at the Royal Academy and the British Institution. Although he had moved back to Liverpool by 1810, he continued to exhibit paintings in London throughout his career. In 1810 he became a founding member of the Liverpool Academy, an organization founded in large measure on the patronage of Henry Blundell who became its first patron and Towne served as vice president from 1812-13. He was extremely successful in his career and established an extensive practice providing paintings to many of the notable northern families and his works remain in high demand today.
The present picture is a version of a painting by Stubbs which was commissioned by Henry Blundell and which remains in the Blundell family (see fig. 1). Towne would clearly have been familiar with the painting as he was frequently at Ince Blundell fulfilling commissions, several of which remain in the family. The picture therefore probably represents a homage by Towne to the artist who had the greatest influence him.