Paul Sandby was born in 1731, in Nottingham, England. At 14 years old, Paul moved to London, following his brother Thomas Sandby, who obtained an arrangement at the Tower of London in the military drawing department.
Soon after the suppression of the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Paul Sandby was employed by the military to assist and later be the very draughtsman to the survey of the new road to Fort George, which was erected aiming to pacify the Scottish Highlands in the aftermath of the rebellion. Whilst executing this commission, which included producing designs for new fortifications and bridges, he began working on watercolor landscapes in order to document the changes in Scotland since the uprising, as well as making sketches of remarkable Scottish events such as the hanging of John Young in 1751.
Upon leaving his post later that year, the artist lived for a period with his brother, who was recently appointed as Deputy Ranger of the distinguished Windsor Great Park, a Royal park with over two-thousand hectares. There, Sandby, apart from assisting his brother, also executed a series of drawings depicting the castle, the town, and its community. Said English naturalist Sir Joseph Banks later bought series.
Sandby’s artworks were also highly appreciated by fellow artists such as the distinguished English painter Thomas Gainsborough, who regarded them as the most realistic views of the country’s nature.
Paul Sandby was also a proficient printmaker, executing several plates based both on his drawing as well as on artworks by other artists. In 1760, the artist published The Cries of London, comprised of twelve etchings, and five years later, he issued a volume composed of many prints, several of them depicting views of Edinburgh. He also published, yet anonymously, several caricatures mocking William Hogarth.
Sandby contributed to the Society of Artists’ first exhibition in 1760. The artist participated in the society’s exhibitions regularly until the Royal Academy incorporated it. On the creation of the Royal Academy in 1768, Sandby was one of the 28 founding-members appointed by King George III. Between 1769 and 1809, the artist contributed to all but eight of the Academy’s exhibitions.
By 1770, the artist made his first documented trip to Wales, which resulted in several engravings, such as XII Views in South Wales, executed in aquatint.
Paul Sandby died on November 7, 1809.