Exeter Cathedral Choir, Christmas Card

Christmas Card. It shows Decani, looking south-east across to the bishop's throne.

The artist is Arthur C. Payne, who produced a number of pieces artwork for Raphael Tuck, the producers of this card. He was active in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The date of this card is uncertain, but the style of the choir stalls shows it post-dates the Scott Restoration of 1870.

Bottom right of the painting, just to the right of the artist's name, it says simply: "Exeter Choir".

The painting is distorted as regards perspective and relative sizes. For example, the lower part of the bishop's throne, where there is a standing bishop, is shown much higher relative to the stalls than it really is, and behind the stalls, whereas it is actually at one end. The priest shown between the choir and the throne, would be standing in the end-stall of the rear row of decani stalls; this is traditionally the stall of the Canon Chancellor.

The number of singers is curious, and probably reflects artistic licence and the need to simplify. There would have been three men on either side of of the choir, but probably more than four boys.

The choir is shown wearing cassocks under surplices. This contrasts to the photograph of c.1880, where only surplices are being worn. Colour of the cassocks is probably black, possibly dark blue. The boys wear white collars. Again, these are not being worn in the photograph of 1880. This assumes the artist is accurate in these respects.