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In the early 1820s Turner began several engraving projects, each intended to illuminate a particular area, or aspect
of the British countryside. The most successful prints were for a sequence
of views called the Rivers of England. These were skilfully reproduced as black and white images through the printing process known as mezzotint.
This view of Totnes in Devon was one
of the last to be issued. It shows the challenges faced by Turner's engravers. All the watercolours in this series recreate subtle atmospheric effects, building up the forms in the image through tiny touches of colour.