Charles Towne

The favourite hunters of Mrs Robert Townley Parker of Cuerden Hall, Lancashire in a wooded landscape

Oil on canvas: 30(h) x 35.7(w) in /

76.2(h) x 90.8(w) cm

Signed and dated 1819

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BB 291



Wigan 1763 – 1840 Liverpool


The favourite hunters of Mrs Robert Townley Parker of Cuerden Hall, Lancashire in a wooded coastal landscape


Signed and dated 1819

Canvas: 30 x 35 ¾ in / 76.2 x 90.8 cm

Framed: 34 ½ x 40 ¼ in / 87.6 x 102.2 cm



Mr TT Townley Parker, Cuerden Hall, Bamber Bridge, Lancashire

Richard Green, London, 1979

Private collection, UK



London, Richard Green, Annual Exhibition of Sporting Paintings, 1980, pp.8-9, no.2, illus. in colour



Charles Towne from 1810 was based in Liverpool, becoming a founder member of the Liverpool Academy. He travelled widely in the north of England to paint horses and many of his clients were Cheshire and Lancashire gentry. Mrs Townley Parker (d.1878), née Emily Brooke, was the daughter of Thomas Brooke of Church Minshull. In 1816 she married her kinsman Robert Townley Parker (1793-1879), son of Thomas Townley Parker of Cuerdon Hall, Sheriff of Lancashire, and his wife Susannah Brooke. On his father’s death in 1794, the infant Robert inherited Cuerdon, near Bamber Bridge, and the Brooke estate of Astley Park near Chorley, Lancashire. He was MP for Preston from 1837 to 1857.


In 1816 Robert Townley Parker commissioned Lewis Wyatt to remodel the early eighteenth century Cuerdon Hall in a Grecian style with four corner turrets: these may be echoed in the turrets in the background of Towne’s painting, which sets Mrs Townley Parker’s hunters in a romantic, wooded landscape. The River Lostock, which flows through the Cuerdon valley, is aggrandised to a gleaming estuary with sailing boats and larger shipping. During his years in London, from 1799 to 1804, Charles Towne had been an associate of George Morland and Morland’s richly-detailed rustic scenes are reflected in Towne’s delicately-painted landscape, with its subtle handling of light.  


Wigan 1763 – 1840 Liverpool


Charles Towne specialised in horse and dog portraiture and landscape, rendered with delicacy and detail. Towne (the spelling of his name he used after 1799) was born in Wigan, the third child of Robert and Mary Town. Charles was selling his drawings by the age of eight and at twelve walked to Leeds to work for the landscape artist John Rathbone. He then joined his brother in Liverpool, becoming a coach- and ornamental painter and japanner. He worked in Lancaster and Manchester, returning to Liverpool by 1785 to marry a widow, Margaret Harrison.


Towne exhibited a landscape at the Liverpool Society for Promoting Painting and Design in 1787 and copied from memory George Stubbs’s exhibits, Haymakers and Reapers. Towne was influenced by Stubbs, another Liverpool-born painter, in his equestrian portraits, the earliest of which dates from 1792. Towne divided his time between Liverpool and Manchester, with a visit to London in 1797. There he visited the studio of Philip de Loutherbourg, whose work influenced his Highland scene The monarch of the Glen, 1797 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).


From 1799 to 1804 Towne lived in London, exhibiting at the Royal Academy in those years. He became a friend of the rackety George Morland, emulating his rustic landscapes and, more unfortunately, his life. By 1798 Towne was making £600 a year, yet spent money as fast as he could earn it. He returned to Liverpool around 1810 and became a founder member of the Liverpool Academy, serving as its Vice-President 1812-13 and exhibiting there 1810-13 and 1822-25. He exhibited at the Royal Manchester Institution 1827-33. From 1813 Towne also worked as a picture restorer. He seems to have travelled widely in the north of England to paint horses and dogs, but the majority of his clients were Lancashire and Cheshire gentry. Towne died in Liverpool in 1840.  


The work of Charles Towne is represented in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.






SportingCharles Towne