Paul Sandby c.1730–1809
The Cemetery Gate of St Augustine’s Monastery Canterbury
Medium Watercolour and graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 324 x 508 mm
Acquisition Presented by William Sandby 1901
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Sandby has treated the medieval gateway with the care associated with topographical draughtsmanship (the accurate recording of particular places) but here it forms the backdrop for a humorous and incident-filled scene of daily life.
Topographical draughtsmanship was an important skill in the military, used in the surveying of land and fortifications. Sandby was trained as a military draughtsman, but he developed original approaches. By the 1790s Sandby was thought of as the crucial figure in British landscape art, who had forged a specifically ‘national’ style of watercolour.
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