c. 1857

Exeter Cathedral Quire

Stereoscpoe-Exeter Quire

A stereoscope photograph of the Quire, looking west from near the High Altar, taken between 1857 and 1866, possibly 1857 (see below).


Left side of stereoscope images.

The choir must have stood either side of the central row of seating, in the fixed stalls. Congregation sitting on these central seats must have had a very direct musical experience!

This view of the Quire is before the Scott restoration of 1870, which created most of the present form of the Quire. Much was changed by Scott. All the wood furnishings were removed except for the Bishop's throne. The exposed stone screen was pierced. A new polychrome stone floor was laid (much of this was replaced by plain stone flooring after the Second World War, with only the chancel area remaining of Scott's original).

The wooden panelling around the back of the stalls was reinstalled along the walls of the hallway in the Deanery (now Old Deanery) by the west front of the cathedral. It is still there (2020).

The cover of the pulpit is very similar-looking to one currently (2020) being used as a table in a canon's house, number 6 The Close. This could be the one shown here.

The organ was later altered and the large bass pipes removed from the side of the pillars on the corners into the transepts. See the excellent book about the history of the organ by Malcolm Walker and David Davies (2014) Heavenly Harmony (Impress Books Ltd., Exeter).

The printing on the rear of the stereoscope states William Spreat, Publisher, of 229 High Street, Exeter. William Spreat (1816-1897) embraced the new techniques of photography in the 1850s, and was an active photographer. He became one of the main publishers of photographs of Devon and Cornwall between 1857 and 1866. Spreat allowed Augustus De Niceville to use part of his premises as a photograph studio. De Niceville took a number of stereoscopic views of the cathedral, which Spreat published in 1857. The images shown here could be part of this series. For more information about Spreat and a catalogue of his photographs, see Tom Greeves (2018) 'William Spreat (1816-1897): photography of the Devon Landscape 1857-1866', Transactions of the Devonshire Association 150, 223-54.

229 High Street Exeter

229 High Street stood on the east corner of High Street and Gandy Street. The magnificent 16th century building was demolished in 1930, with much of the interior fittings being bought by William Randolph Hearst and shipped to America. It was replaced by an imitation early-17th century townhouse (currently a shop, with cut-plaster artwork on its side). (source: http://demolition-exeter.blogspot.com/2010/11/no-229-high-street-ii.html [accessed Dec. 2020])