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Turner’s view is to the south-east, across the River Exe to Exeter Cathedral at the centre of the horizon with the broad estuary beyond to the right. The sloping foreground is now built over, but the distance can be glimpsed from Farm Hill on the northern edge of Exwick, with the Victorian spire of St Michael and All Angels, Mount Dinham, prominent to the right of the cathedral. The valley remains largely undeveloped, albeit crossed by the Great Western railway line. In the early nineteenth century the viewpoint was a popular one with artists emphasising the leafy, rural setting of the self-contained medieval city.1 For Turner’s other views of Exeter, see under folio 30 verso (D08842).
This page was recorded by Finberg as if it were a recto (without the ‘a’ suffix by which he usually indicates a verso), but the drawing he describes is bound as the verso of the sheet and the ‘recto’ is blank except for Ruskin’s number.
See ‘Exeter Topographical Prints 1660–1870: General & Miscellaneous Views’, projects.exeter.ac.uk (University of Exeter), accessed 4 March 2009, http://projects
.exeter. .ac .uk /exeter .cathedral /cocks -text /general .html
The sheet is darkened from prolonged exposure, except at the edges; many other leaves in the Turner Bequest which are affected in this way are known to have been extracted from sketchbooks and displayed for lengthy periods in the late nineteenth century, but there appears to be no recorded exhibition history for this page.