View of Bartholomew's Yard, Exeter

View of Bartholomew's Yard, Exeter



John White Abbott (1763-1851)
View of Bartholomew's Yard, Exeter

Inscribed verso: ..rtholomew's Yard. Sep.t 12. 1807
Pen and grey ink and wash on two sheets of joined paper
18.7 by 40 cm., 7 ¼ by 15 ¾ in.

The Ruskin Gallery, Stratford-on-Avon

This is a view of Bartholomew's Yard, one of the Exeter's old cemeteries, north of what was Exe Island and the old Bonhay Road.  The land had originally been given to St Nicholas Priory by William I.  The monks had used the fields to dry the serge cloth from the city's watermills on aqueducts known as leats which can still be seen in this drawing. The cemetery ceased to be a burial ground after the cholera epidemic of 1832, and became a park which still exists today.

White Abbott was born, and spent all his working life, in and around Exeter. He was a friend and pupil of Francis Towne and they worked in very similar styles of pen and ink combined with broad washes of simple colour. White Abbott was never a professional artist and made his living as a surgeon. He was said not to have sold a picture in his lifetime and his work remained with his descendants until well into the twentieth century.