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Paul Sandby (1730-1809) - 18th Century Watercolour, Fishing By Hilltop Castle

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Sulis is proud to present this delicate and accomplished watercolour is an extraordinary piece of the history of British watercolour by. Painted by Paul Sandby, a founder member of the Royal Academy and remembered as "the father of English watercolour." This serene scene clearly shows much mastery of the medium with a delicate palette and Sandby's signature graphic tree in the foreground.

Sandby was employed to assist the military in 1745. While undertaking this commission, he began producing watercolour landscapes documenting the changes in Scotland since the rebellion. He left his post in 1751 to live with his brother in Windsor. These dates place this painting as being one of the Scottish highlands around Fort George painted at a critical time in Sandby's career when he first began to use watercolours. The painting has been signed in the lower right had quadrant and is presented in a beautifully executed wash-line mount in perfectly complementary colours with the painting's hues. The piece is finished in a smart gilt effect frame with a bevelled inside edge.

Signed and dated. On laid.


The condition is typical for a picture of this age including some discolouration. There is some foxing, particularly to the top half of the painting. The mount and frame are in fine condition with a slight loss to left edge of the frame at the back.


18.8 x 31cm (7.4" x 12.2")
Framed Size: 40.2 x 49.6cm (15.8" x 19.5")

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Artist Biography

A Founder Member of the Royal Academy, Paul Sandby is remembered as ‘the father of English watercolour’ and also pioneered the new printing technique of aquatint.

Sandby was born in Nottingham in 1731, and is thought to have learnt his early skills as a draughtsman from his brother Thomas, who became a prominent architect. This equipped him to work as draughtsman to the military survey of the Scottish highlands set up in the wake of the 1745 Jacobite uprising. Over a five year period Sandby made many landscape watercolours in Scotland, before moving to London.

He continued to paint landscapes in gouache and watercolour, while also demonstrating a skill for satire in the set of etchings he made satirising William Hogarth (1753–4). 

Sandby helped to further popularize watercolour through the printing technique of aquatint, which he named and promoted. Making over a hundred prints in the medium, Sandby also continued to make engravings.

Sandby exhibited at the Society of Artists until 1768, when he defected to become a Founder Member of the new Royal Academy. He showed almost annually at the institution from its first exhibition in 1769 until his death in 1809. In his difficult final years Sandby was granted an annual pension by the Academy to support him and his family.

More Information
Code px007
Artist Paul Sandby (1730-1809)
Date 18th Century
Dimensions 18.8 x 31cm
Medium Watercolour
Style Realism
Subject Landscape
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