Virginia Water Lake, Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, England
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A pencil, pen and ink and watercolour drawing of the Holbein Gate and the Banqueting House at Whitehall bathed in a warm sunset light. Inscribed below in ink, possibly the artist's hand: Thos Sandby. Villedary watermark.
The Holbein Gate was built in 1531-2, connecting two parts of Whitehall Palace otherwise separated by the road that passed between them. By tradition the gate was said to have been designed by Hans Holbein the Younger. Its rooms were used by Henry VIII for his wedding to Anne Boleyn. The Gate was demolished in 1759 in order to allow for the widening of the road, and the remains acquired by the Duke for the Park. Under the direction of the Duke, Thomas Sandby designed additions to the Gate as part of plans to reinstall it at the end of the Long Walk (see RCIN 914701).
The present watercolour shows the Gate in situ at Whitehall. A related unfinished version, RCIN 914702, is dated 1743, soon after Thomas Sandby's arrival in London in 1741 or 1742, when he entered employment as a military draughtsman in the Ordnance Office at the Tower of London. Two versions of the subject appeared in his estate sale 18 July, 1799 (first day, no. 33, and fourth day, no. 286). Examples are also in the Guildhall Art Gallery (inv. no. 7519320); British Museum (1941,0618.1 and in the Crowle Pennant G,4.21 and G,4.24), the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1981.25.2697) and a version sold at Sabin in October 1954. In 1743 Thomas Sandby spent around six months in Scotland, and as part of their work for the Survey of Scotland both Sandby brothers made drawings of antiquities that were important to the growing antiquarian concerns for Britain's own architectural heritage. Many artists engaged with these concerns and made drawings that documented historic buildings at risk of ruin or due to be swept away by modern redevelopment. The Gate was described by the antiquarian Thomas Pennant as 'the most beautiful gate at Whitehall'.
Descriptive Medium: 'Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour', 'pen and ink, watercolour, pencil'