The ability to draw detailed representations of specific places was an important skill in the military, used in the surveying of terrain and fortifications. Sandby was trained as a military draughtsman, but became a key figure in raising the artistic status of watercolour.
This is one of several views of Rochester made when Sandby was living in Kent and working as Chief Drawing Master at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. Its relatively free handling and richly evocative colour is typical of the watercolours he created towards the end of his career.
Gallery label, September 2004
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