Paul Sandby, RA (British, 1731–1809)

A view of Tunbridge, Kent

Paul Sanby

Inscribed and dated l.l.: Tunbridge.1788, watercolour over traces of pencil on laid paper countermarked: J WHATMAN

36 x 53 cm; 14 ¼ x 20 ¾ inches

Provenance : Mrs Charles E. Dunlap, her estate sale, Sotheby’s Parke Bernet Inc., New York, 3–5 December 1975, lot 337; Bought by John Baskett Ltd, London, 1975; Private collection, USA, 1976–2014; Private collection, USA, by descent, 2014–2018.

Exhibited : Emily Lowe Gallery, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, 1980, British Watercolours and Drawings 1750–1925, ill. in colour, as pl. 10, p. 26. Davis & Langdale Company, New York, British Drawings 1760–1925, 1980, ill.

This delightful view of Tonbridge (the town of bridges) shows the Great Bridge over the river Tunn with the keep of Tonbridge Castle in the background. On the east side of the High Street, the building on the north bank of the Great Bridge, on the right of the composition, was occupied by Widow Wise and Simon Wise, who manufactured Tunbridge Ware, a type of decoratively inlaid woodwork, often in the form of boxes. East of the High Street on the south bank, the occupier was Robert Gabriel; this building was perhaps already an inn, later the Castle Inn and the Six Bells. A laden coal barge can be seen apparently docking at the river’s edge. A characteristically