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The Gaze - Dartmouth from St Petrox Churchyard (1852) - Henry Dawson

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 February 2014


In the first of a new series looking at some of the incredible artwork owned by the public in Devon and on show, mostly for free.

This first work is by Henry Dawson (1811-1878) and was purchased with assistance of the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of Exeter City Museums and Art Gallery and is on display at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter.

Based in Nottingham, Liverpool, and London, Henry Dawson was self-taught and made frequent visits to the South West coastline to paint its landscapes. Dartmouth from St Petrox Churchyard (dated 1852) is an example of Dawson’s concern with atmospheric effects and attention to detail. Although he was influenced by the work of Constable and Turner, his painting displays his own very distinctive style.

The painting offers an unusual view of a location that was popular with 19th century artists. Where these artists would generally

include either the estuary mouth and castle from the sea or the town and harbour only.

A survivor of the Napoleonic wars, the shot store (seen in the left foreground) served the nearby artillery battery. The principal buildings of the town are visible beyond. The now prominent Royal Naval College on high ground above the town was not built until 1905.

The work is now on show until 6 April in Gallery 5 along with other paintings from the city’s Fine Art collection at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3RX 01392 265858 /

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