As I say, minor mystery, and easily solved by flying across the Atlantic, taking a 3-hour train journey and then a half-hour's car ride to his former house.
Now, you might ask, why is this of significance? Well, really it isn't but it bugged me. The fact that the collection depicted in the painting eventually formed the basis of the British Museum's collection is neither here nor there. Was it worth the flight, the train and the car journeys? Yup! Isn't any expense worth it when one is proven right?
The following eight photos are of Townley's ancestral home, now a museum. I wish I could say it was a fascinating place to visit but it holds more nostalgic than intrinsic value, for when the house was donated to the town at the beginning of the 20th century it had been stripped by the family of anything that might be of value to a visitor today and the town council has struggled ever since with an empty shell and little to fill it with.
One of the features of the Hall and one common to most of the building that went on in this locality is that the building material is stone - Millstone Grit if my memory serves me well - the same stone, as the name suggests to make millstones for milling flour and whetstones for knives.
I took the photograph below as I was sitting on a window ledge with my sister in the room above because it reminded me of sidewalks when I was a child, before they were all pulled up and replaced with tarmacadam in the name of modernization.
I stared and stared at this floor as she and I discussed the prospects for my beloved brother-in-law who is on chemo-therapy. This was the actual reason for crossing the Atlantic: him, my sister and the family reunion in Scotland.
Below, the old brewhouse.
Nothing to do with Townley but a building made of stone in the vernacular style of the region. The photo gives a pretty good idea of what the moorland around my home town is like.
The last picture is one of those "how did I not know this" moments. The straight run of canal you see below is apparently one of the Seven Wonders of the British Waterways System.
Known locally as the Straight Mile, the Embankment, built between 1796 and 1801, carries the Leeds and Liverpool Canal 60 feet above the town. The importance of this straight run, a mile long, was that though costly to build the embankment it meant the canal could traverse the valley without the need for two systems of locks.