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Paul Sandby (1731-1809)

View near the Serpentine River, Hyde Park during the Encampment 1780

Pencil, pen and watercolour | 25.8 x 47.6 cm (sight) | RCIN 451583

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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 at centre back, with soldiers, camp followers and dogs by the tree-lined water. A girl with a wheelbarrow on the left, an officer on a folding chair at far right. Inscribed in pencil on the mount, 'Hyde Park during the Encampment 1780 looking towards Kensington', the last three words possibly in another hand, and in another hand known as the 'Colnaghi' hand, 'By Sandby'.

    From 1774, Paul Sandby lived opposite Hyde Park at 4 St George's Row, Bayswater. He made many drawings of the park, including a large number of drawings of the encampments set up in the park during the Gordon Riots in 1780. Over six days in June 1780, protests took place against the limited concessions of the first Catholic Relief Act, and to quell further riots, troops were stationed in St James's Park, the gardens of Montagu House, and Hyde Park, remaining in situ for several months. Despite their military function, the encampments soon became places of fashionable parade and entertainment: Lord Harcourt described that in St James's Park as 'so extremely pretty that you would be charmed with the sight of it'. Sandby's drawings often capture the sociable elements of the camps, even wryly including drunk or amorous soldiers 'guarding' Hyde Park. He sent several drawings to be exhibited at the Royal Academy the following year, as well as making marketable aquatints of the subjects. 
    Other drawings of the camps in the Royal Collection are RCINs 451581-451586, 451590, 914678-914681 and 935206, with other examples elsewhere, including at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B1981.25.2690) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (1953P80). See also John Bonehill and Stephen Daniels (eds) Paul Sandby: Picturing Britain, exh cat, Nottingham Castle Museum etc., 2009, pp. 144-46. Oppé suggests the drawing is a clear companion to RCIN 451582. The initials T.S., disernible on the board at the entrance to the mess-tent may indicate the cooperation in the colouring of Paul Sandby's son, Paul Thomas. The footman and a boy galloping also appear in an aquatint of the Encampment in Hyde Park and in a drawing in the British Museum (L.B.138).


    Royal Collection by 1868-72 (listed in Richard Redgrave's inventory of Windsor Castle, no.2943)

  • Medium and techniques

    Pencil, pen and watercolour


    25.8 x 47.6 cm (sight)

    47.2 x 67.3 cm (frame, external)