Paul Sandby, R.A. (1731-1809)
Oxford from Nuneham House, the seat of the Earl of Harcourt
Inscribed l.r.: Oxford from Nuneham House and numbered 186, pen and grey ink and grey wash over pencil on laid paper, watermarked with the Strasburg lily
15.7 x 45.4 cm; 6 1/8 x 17 7/8 inches
Iolo Williams, by descent in his family until 1999;
W/S Fine Art, 100 British Drawings and Watercolours, 2008, no. 78
London, The Guildhall Art Gallery, Paul Sandby exhibition, 1960, no. 80
The Earl of Harcourt was an important patron of the artist. Stiff Leadbetter, the architect, built his new villa outside Oxford near Abingdon from 1756-1760. The house was designed to be fire-proof as the family had lost one of its members in a house fire some years before.
Sandby was employed at Nuneham as a drawing master to the three children of the Earl, and whilst staying there, he designed one of the fireplaces for the new house. He painted the house and park in oils twice, and one of these large works was exhibited at the first Society of Artists’ exhibition in 1760. The present drawing was developed into a finished watercolour (in a private collection) which was engraved by Michael Angelo Rooker for The Copperplate Magazine in 1778.