Paul Sandby, View from the Gardens of Somerset House, Looking East and West, a pen and ink drawing with watercolour

London, around AD 1755-65

These panoramic drawings by Paul Sandby (1730-1809) were made in watercolour over pencil with details drawn in pen and ink.

The bend in the river at Somerset House gives an extensive view up and down the Thames. Looking west, the arches of Westminster Bridge span the river Thames and on the north side of the wide river, to the right, the rooves of Westminster Hall and Westminster Abbey are clearly visible. The more famous view (see Other Views) looks east, towards the City of London, where the unmistakable dome of St Paul's Cathedral rises above the towers of Wren's many city churches, rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. In the foreground, elegant ladies and gentlemen stroll through the gardens on the terrace of Somerset House, which in 2000 was once again offered to the public.

The popularity of such river scenes in the eighteenth century may owe a debt to Canaletto's visit to England from 1746 to 1750, when he sketched and painted many similar views. This pair of views by Sandby may also be seen as one of the first panoramic views of the City of London and the river. Such views became increasingly popular, culminating in such elaborate productions as Thomas Girtin's completely circular Eidometropolis of 1801.

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Paul Sandby, View from the Gardens of Somerset House, Looking East and West, a pen and ink drawing with watercolour

Looking west

  • Looking east

    Looking east

 

More information

Bibliography

L. Herrmann, Paul and Thomas Sandby (Batsford, 1986)

L. Stainton, British landscape watercolours (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)

Dimensions

Height: 483.000 mm
Width: 1951.000 mm
Height: 483.000 mm
Width: 1951.000 mm

Museum number

PD G-13-30, 31

PDB18698;PDB18700

Bequeathed by John Charles Crowle

Location

Find in the collection online



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