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Book u, all the strong formative impressions of early life and habit Classical on the Continent.
Gi"« A»»°* He was born, in the old seat of the family at Towneley Explohzh,. Hal]j on tne lgt of October, 1737. His father, William Towneley, had married Cecilia, sole daughter and heir of Richard Standish, by his wife Lady Philippa Howard, daughter of Henry, Duke of Norfolk. The hall—which has not yet lost all its venerable aspect—was built in part by a Sir John Towneley in the reign of Henry VIII, and its older portions (turrets, gateway, chapel, and library) suit well the fine position of the building, and the noble woods which back it. Of the founder two things still remain in local tradition and memory. He took the changes made under the rule of Henry—or rather of Thomas Cromwell—so much in dudgeon, that when Lancaster Herald came to Towneley, upon his Visitation, he refused to admit him, saying, 'Do not trouble thyself. There are no more gentlemen left in Lancashire now than my Lord of Derby, and my Lord Monteagle.' The other tradition of this same Sir John is, that he enclosed a common pasture called Horelaw, and so made the peasantry as angry with his innovations as he was with Cromwell's. Some of their descendants may yet chance to assure the inquisitive stranger, that his ghost still haunts the park, crying aloud in the dead of night—
'Lay out! lay out !*
At Douay Charles Towneley received a careful education, moulded, of course, under the conditions and the memories of that celebrated College. When he left its good priests he was already the owner of the family estates—his
* Lancastrian for * throw open.'
father having died prematurely in 1742—and he was Bookii, plunged, at once, into the gaieties and temptations of Paris. C!!1«"al All the Mentorship he had was that of a great uncle who had J^TM* become sufficiently naturalised to win the friendship of eiplo1emVoltaire, and to be able to turn Hudibras into excellent French. The dissipations of the Capital overpowered, for a time, the real love of classical studies which had been excited in the provincial college. But the seed had been sown in a good soil. The study of art and of classical archaeology, in particular, presently reasserted its claims and renewed its attractions. It was a fortunate circumstance, too, that family affairs required the presence of Mr. Towneley in England on the attainment of his majority.
He had left Towneley very young. He came back to it with more of the foreigner than of the Englishman in his ways of life and manners. But he was able to win the genuine regard of his neighbours, and to take his fair share in their pursuits and sports, although he could never—at least in his own estimation—succeed in expressing his thoughts with as much ease and readiness in English as in French. Late in life, he would speak of this conscious inability with regret. Whether needfully or not, the feeling, no doubt, prevented Mr. Towneley from turning to literary account his large acquirements.
What he had seen of the Continent had given him a desire to see more of it, and the bias of his youthful studies pointed in the same direction. In 1765, after a short stay in France, he went into Italy, and there he passed almost eight years. They were passed in a very different way from that in which he had passed the interval between Douay and Towneley. That long residence abroad enabled him to become a very conspicuous benefactor to his country.
He visited Naples, Florence, and Rome, and from time
Formation or THE Towneley Gallery.
to time made many excursions into various parts of Magna Graecia and of Sicily. At Naples he formed the acquaintance of Sir William Hamilton and of D'hancarville. At Rome he became acquainted with three Englishmen, James Byres, Gavin Hamilton, and Thomas Jenkins, all of whom had first gone thither as artists, and step by step had come to be almost exclusively engrossed in the search after works of ancient art. The success and fame of Sir William Hamilton's researches in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and of those, still earlier, of Thomas Coke of Holkham (afterwards Earl of Leicester), had given a strong impulse to like researches in other parts of Italy. Towneley caught the contagion, and was backed by large resources to aid him in the pursuit.
His first important purchase was made in 1768. It was that of a work already famous, and which for more than a century had been one of the ornaments of the Barberini Palace at Rome. This statue of a boy playing at the game of tali, or 'osselets' (figured in Ancient Marbles in the British Museum, part ii, plate 31), was found among the ruins of the Baths of Titus, during the Pontificate of Urban The Eighth. During the same year, 1768, Mr, Towneley acquired, from the Collection of Victor Amadei, at Rome, the circular urn with figures in high relief—which is figured in the first volume of Piranesi's Baccolta di Vasi Antichi—and also the statue of a Nymph of Diana, seated on the ground. This statue was found in 1766 at the Villa Verospi in Rome.
Two years afterwards, several important acquisitions were made of marbles which were discovered in the course of the excavations undertaken by Byres, Gavin Hamilton, and Jenkins, amidst the ruins of Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli. The joint-stock system, by means of which the diggings were effected, no less than the conditions which n, accompanied the papal concessions that authorised them, Classical necessitated a wide diffusion of the spoil. But whenever tTM"s"*D the making of a desirable acquisition rested merely upon Ex'LO»KI,a liberality of purse or a just discrimination of merit, Mr. Towneley was not easily outstripped in the quest. Amongst these additions of 1709-71 were the noble Head of Hercules, the Head said, conjecturally, to be that of Menelaus, and the ' Castor in low relief (all of which are figured in the second part of Ancient Marbles).
Two terminal heads of the bearded Bacchus—both of them of remarkable beauty—were obtained in 1771 from the site of Bai&e. These were found by labourers who were digging a deep trench for the renewal of a vineyard, and were seen by Mr. Adair, who was then making an excursion from Naples. In the same year the statue of Ceres and that of a Faun (A. M., \i, 24) were purchased from the Collection in the Macarani Palace at Rome. In 1772 the Diana Venatrix and the Bacchus and Ampelus were found near La Storta. It was by no fault of TowneLey's that the Diana was in part 'restored,' and that blunderingly. He thought restoration to be, in some cases, permissible; but never deceptively; never when doubt existed about the missing part. In art, as in life, he clave to his heraldic motto ' Tenez le vrai.'
In 1771, also, the famous 'Chjtie' — doubtfully so called — was purchased from the Laurenzano Collection at Naples.
The curious scenic figure on a plinth (A.M., part x), together with many minor pieces of sculpture, were found in the Fonseca Villa on the Caelian Hill in 1773. In the same year many purchases were made from the Mattei Collection at Rome. Amongst these are the heads of
Marcus Aurelius and of Lucius Verus. And it was at this period that Gavin Hamilton began his productive researches amidst the ruins of the villa of Antoninus Pius at Monte Cagnolo, near the ancient Lanuvium. This is a spot both memorable and beautiful. The hill lies on the road between Genzano and Civita Lavinia. It commands a wide view over Velletri and the sea. To Hamilton and his associates it proved one of the richest mines of ancient art which they had the good fortune to light upon. Mr. Towneley's share in the spoil of Monte Cagnolo comprised the group of Victory sacrificing a Bull; the Actceon; a Faun; a Bacchanalian vase illustrative of the Bionysia; and several other works of great beauty. The undraped Venm was found—also by Gavin Hamilton—at Ostia, in 1775.
In the next year, 1776, Mr. Towneley acquired one of . the chiefest glories of his gallery, the Venus with drapery. Mi Vkhus." rjjjjg a]so was founci aj Ostia, in the ruins of the Baths
of Claudius. But that superb statue would not have left Rome had not its happy purchaser made, for once, a venial deflection from the honourable motto just adverted to. The figure was found in two severed portions, and care was taken to show them, quite separately, to the authorities concerned in granting facilities for their removal. The same excavation yielded to the Towneley Collection the statue of Thalia. From the Villa Casali on the Esquiline were obtained the terminal head of Epicurus, and the bust thought to be that of Bomitia. The bust of Sophocles was found near Genzano; that of Trajan, in the Campagna; that of Septimius Severus, on the Palatine, and that of Caracalla on the Esquiline. A curious cylindrical fountain (figured in A. M., i, % 10) was found between Tivoli and Prseneste, and the fine representation in low
The AcquiSition OF