Wimbledon and Putney Commons, London, England
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A pencil, pen and watercolour drawing of the Serpentine river in Hyde Park during the encampment set up during the Gordon Riots in 1780. A large mess tent on the right, with soldiers, camp followers, and passers by. On the left is a woman with a wheelbarrow, and a milk seller with two pails on the right. Inscribed in pencil on the mount, 'View near the Serpentine River Hyde Park during the Encampment (Camp) 1780' and in another hand, 'looking to Knightsbridge'. With an auctioneer's lot 2-82/1 connecting the drawing to the Paul Sandby estate sale, 3 May 1811, lot 82. An aquatint of the scene is no. VII of the series of encampments engraved by James Fittler and Francis Chesham, titled 'The Filbert Merchant in Hyde Park'.
In early June 1780, initially peaceful protests against the concessions of the first Catholic Relief Act of 1778 turned to riots in the streets of London and Westminster. In response to the violence, encampments were set up in St. James's Park, Hyde Park and the gardens of Montagu House, and remained in place for several months. The camps became places of fashionable spectacle and entertainment. By this date Sandby lived in St. George's Row opposite Hyde Park and was well placed to observe the activity there. He submitted several views of the camps to the Royal Academy in 1781.