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 Sandy was among the first British artists to produce a substantial body of landscape watercolors. Early in his career, Sandy 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. Sandy 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.
Inscription: signed, lower right, in watercolor: P. Sandby 1783 ; SECONDARY SUPPORT, lower center, in graphite: Bridg[e?]north, Shropshire ; VERSO: upper right, in blue ballpoint pen: Bridgenorth. / Sandby 1783 [the 7 written over an 8] ; upper right, in graphite: Shropshire
Medium: watercolor over graphite
Dimensions: 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.)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. King Rosendale in honor of Beatrice R. Grubb
Accesion Number: 1997.69
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