Mar 1, 2013

Bridgenorth, Shropshire

Bridgenorth, Shropshire

c. 1790

Watercolor over graphite

Support: Cream(3) laid paper laid down on board

Sheet: 35.5 x 51.7 cm (14 x 20 3/8 in.); Secondary Support: 43 x 57.2 cm (16 15/16 x 22 1/2 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. King Rosendale in honor of Beatrice R. Grubb 1997.69



The medium of watercolor has a richer tradition in England than almost any other country, and its rise in importance was closely connected to the development of landscape painting. Paul Sandby was among the first British artists to produce a substantial body of landscape watercolors. Early in his career, Sandby worked as a mapmaker, surveying the Highlands in Scotland while working for the government. His mature work combines topographical accuracy with picturesqe compositions and carefully observed figure groups. This watercolor shows a gated medieval bridge across the River Severa near the town of Bridgenorth, in western England, near Wales. Sandby depicted the subject several times in both watercolors and prints. Here, the rustic merrymakers dancing to a fiddler's music add a social dimension to the scene.

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