Charles Towne was an English painter who specialised in landscapes, hunting scenes, and horse and dog portraiture. At a very early age Charles started drawing and soon found followers to buy his work. When he was twelve he walked to Liverpool and found employment with the landscape artist John Rathbone and received his fundamental training in painting. He later joined his brother, becoming a coach and ornamental artist and japanner while still pursuing his ambition as an artist.
Towne travelled widely in the North of England, working in Lancaster and Manchester. He returned to Liverpool in 1785 to marry a widow, Margret Harrison.
His first painting was exhibited in 1787, an exhibition arranged by the Liverpool Society for Promoting The Arts of Painting & Design, the forerunner of the Liverpool Academy.
By the 1790s he was becoming an established animal painter, interested in 17th century Dutch landscape paintings but very much influenced by the equestrian artist George Stubbs, another Liverpool-born painter. He attracted some interest with his copies of Stubbs’ paintings, 'Harvester and ‘Reapers’ which he painted entirely from memory.
Although Towne is best-known for painting horses, especially hunting and shooting scenes, his imaginary vision of the romanticised landscape heightened the solid reality and presence of his animals. He was also commissioned to paint cattle, favourite dogs and hunting scenes.
He stayed in London between 1796 and 1804, exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1799. During his time in London he was associated with de Loutherbourg and George Morland and much of Morland's richly detailed landscapes are reflected in Towne's delicately painted scenes.
He divided his time between Liverpool and Manchester but eventually he settled in Liverpool in 1810, to become a member of the Liverpool Academy in 1812 and was elected Vice-President in 1813.
Charles Towne died in Liverpool and much of his work is today represented in the Walker Gallery in Liverpool.