Charles Towne’s landscape captures the drama and rural idyll of the Falls of Tummel in Perthshire, Scotland. More commonly known today as the Linn of Tummel, the falls are located in Perthshire, central Scotland, just above where the River Tummel meets the River Garry. In the 19th century, a huge net was suspended below the falls to catch salmon as they fell back, while attempting to leap up the falls.
Another Charles Towne painting, titled ‘A View of the Falls of Jumel’ and also dated 1822, was sold through Christie’s, London, in March 1979 and measures approximately 1½ by 2 feet; considerably smaller than this example. The Government Art Collection work is almost certainly the painting exhibited by the artist at the British Institution in London in 1823. It was described in the catalogue as ‘A View on the Falls of Jumel, seven miles from Blare Athol’ and the dimensions were given as 3½ by 2½ feet, the approximate dimensions of this work, although reversed (dimensions are typically expressed with the height given first, width second).
Painter of landscapes, sporting scenes and cattle Charles Towne was born near Wigan; the son of portrait painter Richard Town. (Charles added an ‘e’ to his surname in 1799.) He trained under a coach painter in Manchester, where he developed a practice in heraldic painting. He visited London in 1797 and became interested in the work of the Swiss-born landscape painter Phillipe Jacques de Loutherbourg. Towne exhibited at the Royal Academy (1799¬-1812) and the British Institution (until 1823). In 1812, he became Vice-President of the Liverpool Academy. He died in Liverpool, from dropsy, on 6 January 1840, aged 77. Examples of his work can be seen in numerous British public collections, including the Tate and the British Museum in London.
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