'Real Views from Nature in This Country': Paul Sandby, Estate Portraiture and British Landscape Art

By Bonehill, John; Daniels, Stephen | British Art Journal, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

'Real Views from Nature in This Country': Paul Sandby, Estate Portraiture and British Landscape Art


Bonehill, John, Daniels, Stephen, British Art Journal


[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

When Thomas Gainsborough was invited in 1764 to portray the 2nd Earl of Hardwicke's newly acquired state, he declined, as the subject was beneath his artistic ambition, remarking that 'with regard to real Views from Nature in this Country, he had never seen any Place that affords a Subject equal to the poorest imitations of Gaspar or Claude', and recommending Paul Sandby as 'the only Man of Genius ... who has employ'd his Pencil that Way'. (2) Despite this disdain for estate portraiture in a British art world keen to raise its academic aspirations, commissioned views of aristocratic seats featured strongly in London's earliest public art exhibitions. Paul Sandby (Pl 1) was one of a number of artists who extended the power and scope of estate portraiture. In a nation where the estate was the basis of political power and social prestige, their art recorded landed property and its improvements, in varied and sometimes culturally complex views which included natural wonders and antiquities, and scenes of agriculture, industry and commerce, as well as parks, gardens and mansions. With the growing popularity of touring among all ranks of polite society, estate portraits projected public prospects as well as private views, a picture of the country, the nation, at large.

'The great articles in a prospect'

Sandby's earliest work as chief draughtsman on the Military Survey of North Britain in 1747-52 provided introduction to a powerful network of patronage, as did his elder brother Thomas Sandby's connections at Court. (3) Producing and exhibiting estate portraits for powerful public figures was an effective promotional strategy, commercially so, particularly as it was combined with making designs for the growing market for topographical prints. Rather than producing speculative and spectacular looking exhibits in oils, this practice enabled Sandby to successfully make the transition from a London art world dominated by the personalities around St Martin's Lane to a new world of annual shows, public appraisal and institutions, when other artists of the previous generation, most notably William Hogarth, failed. (4) Competition for patronage was such that, as landscape painter Thomas Jones was to note in his Memoirs, 'talent' and 'great Exertions' mattered less than 'great Interest'. (5)

The Sandbys' early experience with military drawing also provided a foundation for a form of landscape art which involved a good deal of exchange and collaboration between the brothers. In the service of the Duke of Cumberland, Thomas Sandby became expert in producing wide ranging panoramas of terrain, and working for the Board of Ordinance Paul Sandby became proficient in drawing maps and plans. These forms of view making provided a model for expanding the scope of topography, for laying out information about land and life, and a place's connections with regional and national geography. During his period in Scotland, Paul Sandby also undertook off duty work, including a commission at the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry's estate at Drumlanrig, Dumfriesshire, executing several drawings, including a panorama of Nithsdale. (6) Upon returning south in the early 1750s, Paul Sandby collaborated with his brother on a set of five views of Cranbourne Lodge, in Windsor Great Park, shortly after it had been acquired as a residence by the recently appointed Ranger, William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. (7) These large, double-folio-sized, wide-angled views, take in broad expanses of Park and Forest, with trees and buildings, even in the far distance, finely delineated: Thomas Sandby drew the landscape, Paul the figures. In his royally appointed role as Deputy Ranger of Windsor Great Park, Thomas Sandby continued to produce detailed estate drawings as designs for improvement, and undertook some commissions elsewhere, notably at Norbury Park (Pl 2), the house of the noted art collector and connoisseur William Lock, making panoramic drawings as part of a project to build a new house.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Real Views from Nature in This Country': Paul Sandby, Estate Portraiture and British Landscape Art
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.