Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Devon: its Moorlands, Streams & Coasts

An out-take from The Dread Wrecker Featherstone: Lady Rosalind Northcote's 1908 Devon: its Moorlands, Streams & Coasts, an illustrated account of the landscape and history of Devon. It has extremely pleasant colour plates, from watercolours by Frederick John Widgery, who specialised in coastal art of Devon and Cornwall. The scenes range over the whole of Devon, but here I've selected a local sample from East Devon round to Torbay.

The text is worth a skim, though I can't say it's wildly enlightening; it's definitely a "me too" book, largely built around scraps of learned but much-recycled material. For instance, the section on Topsham consists of little more than a retelling of Robert Lyde's 1693 A True and Exact Account of the Retaking a Ship Called the Friend's Adventure of Topsham from the French (see also Sabine Baring-Gould's Devonshire Characters and Strange Events). Anyhow, enjoy the pictures; they're very accurate scenes, I suspect based on photographs, that don't exaggerate perspective and heights.

Exeter Guildhall

Exeter from Exwick

Exeter Cathedral


Exmouth from Cockwood



Beer Beach

Seaton Headland

Teignmouth and Shaldon

Torquay from the Bay

Berry Head

Brixham Trawlers

Devon: its Moorlands, Streams & Coasts (Lady Rosalind Northcote, with illustrations in colour after Frederick J Widgery: London, Chatto & Windus; James G Commin, 1908, Internet Archive devonitsmoorland00nort).

Lady Northcote (1873-1950) published only one other work, the 1903 The Book of Herbs (Internet Archive cu31924073899373) although Devon had a 1919 reprint. She was a member of one of the aristocratic families of the Exeter area, as described in her obituary:
Northcote (Lady Rosalind Lucy Stafford Northcote), eldest daughter of the second Earl of Iddesleigh, died on 31st December, 1950, at her home at Upton Pyne. Greatly sympathetic towards the cause of kindness to animals, Lady Rosalind was a former vice-president of the Exeter and West Devon Branch of the R.S.P.C.A., chairman of Exeter Auxiliary branch and a group representative on the National Council of the Society. A film made on her estate was shown to the annual meeting of the Society in 1936. Part of the Society's propaganda, it was designed to help teach children a proper attitude towards animals. Her book on Devonshire was her best known literary work.
- page 12, Report and Transactions - The Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art, Volumes 82-83, 1950
Her brother, Viscount St Cyres (Stafford Harry Northcote) was also a writer, whose works were the 1901 biography Fran├žois de Fenelon (Internet Archive franoisdefenel00stcy); the 1908 The Gallican Church (in Vol. V of The Cambridge Modem History); and the 1909 biography Pascal (Internet Archive pascalnorth00stcyuoft).

- Ray

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