Ashburton, lying south west of Exeter, took its name from the stream on which it stands, the Ashburn, now called the Yeo. It was part of the vast estates owned by the Bishops of Exeter, and remained church property until the time of James I when it was alienated from the church and subsequently sold. The bridge in the distance of this painting is Holne Bridge, which crosses the river Dart, connecting the verdant forests of Holne Park and Ausewell wood.
Henry John Boddington was a landscape painter whose principle subjects were views of the Thames and of the Welsh countryside. He had a strong personal philosophy of painting exactly what he saw before him and John Ruskin praised his pictures for their honesty and truth to nature.
Boddington exhibited two hundred and forty-four works between 1837 and 1865 at the Royal Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street where he was made a member in 1842. This was a great distinction, as many artists exhibited there, but actual membership was very limited. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution between 1837 and 1869.