Signed with initials in black ink l.l. PS

Watercolour with pen & ink, on paper laid to support card

20 x 27cm



Paul Sandby is today remembered as one of the finest British watercolourists to have lived: a founding member of the Royal Academy, Sandby - together with his brother Thomas - was the leading topographical draughtsman of his day, employed by the British Army, the Royal Family and numerous distinguished private clients throughout his career. 


Sandby was born in Nottingham and moved to London at the age of fourteen. He likely learned to draw from his brother Thomas, and like him became a military draughtsman for the Board of Ordnance at the Tower of London. In 1747, just two years after his move to London, Sandby was appointed chief draughtsman to the Military Survey in Scotland, established in the wake of the Jacobite uprising of 1745. Based in Edinburgh, where he taught the architect Robert Adam drawing, he travelled throughout the country producing detailed maps for the army and painting both topographical and picturesque views. 


Sandby left his post with the military survey in 1751 to join his brother Thomas once more: Thomas had been appointed Deputy Ranger of Windsor Great Park, and together the brothers made a series of views of the castle, town and environs of Windsor, which were purchased by Sir Joseph Banks (and many of which can now be found in the Royal Collections Trust). 


In 1760, Sandby contributed to the first exhibition of the Society of Artists, exhibiting regularly with the group until he became one of the founding members of the Royal Academy, in 1768. In the same year, he was appointed Chief Drawing Master to the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, arguably the most important role available to a topographical artist in Britain at the time. He remained in this post for just over thirty years, at the same time serving regularly on the council of the RA and contributing to the majority of exhibitions from 1769 until his death. 


Sandby made numerous extensive journeys around Britain and Ireland, sketching both landscapes and monuments, and making decorative works for commercial clients at the same time. His early client Sir Joseph Banks commissioned a series of plates of Welsh scenery from Sandby, and many of the previously unpublished views of Wales by Sandby were offered at auction recently in 2019 at Sotheby's. Upon his death, Sandby's obituary described him as "the father of modern landscape painting in watercolours". 

PAUL SANDBY, R.A. (1725-1809)


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