Watercolor over pencil, heightened with bodycolor and pen and gray ink on laid paper
Sheet: 45.1 x 100.4 cm (17 3/4 x 39 1/2 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2022.94
The Earl of Bute, owner of the estate depicted in this watercolor, was the favorite minister of King George III of England.
Paul Sandby’s Luton Park, Bedfordshire, belongs to a set of twelve views commissioned by John, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713–1792) in the mid-1760s. After a period of public life, Bute retreated to the country, purchasing Luton Park north of London, and commissioning Paul Sandby to make watercolors recording the estate’s buildings and grounds. In Sandby’s subtle but luminous style, the present drawing depicts the fields outside the estate’s Palladian-style gatehouse, which appears on the right, nestled among trees. Wheat fields and trees populate the distant vista, and, in the center, one sees a view of the Luton castle. The work stayed together with all twelve of Sandby’s drawings in an album at Luton Park until it was discovered in 1996.
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