Scotland Yard with Part of the Banqueting House
Engraving31 December 1766
About the work
Place: Foreign. Commonwealth & Development Office, Carlton Gardens
Narrow paths cross the courtyard of Scotland Yard, on three sides of which are densely packed buildings. To the left, four men enthusiastically gesture in the same direction, apparently towards a woman in an upper window. To their right, a woman and her daughter carry pails, while a dog follows behind them. In front of a carriage parked at the right of the composition, two men by a wall (one standing, the other seated on a bench) are in discussion. The seated man holds a copy of a book titled 'Vans House, A Poem'. Behind the buildings to the left of the composition, the corner of Banqueting House can be seen.
Most of Old Whitehall Palace was destroyed by fire in 1698. However, Banqueting House, designed by Inigo Jones in 1619 as part of the Palace and completed in 1622, is the only part of the Old Palace above ground, which survives today. It remains the property of the Queen, although it is now run by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is open to the public.
Part of the Old Whitehall Palace was intended for the use of the Kings of Scotland and the courtyard, known as Great Scotland Yard, was named after this section of the Palace. A row of houses in the yard, built in 1820, more than 50 years after this print was published, would eventually become the temporary headquarters of the newly formed Metropolitan Police Force. The current Scotland Yard is still named after this, the original location.
About the artist
Little is known of the early life of Edward Rooker. He was a pupil of engraver Henry Roberts, in High Holborn, while simultaneously pursuing a career in acting. Between 1748 and 1749, he engraved drawings after designs by Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren. He appeared on stage at the New Wells Theatre in 1749 and, by 1752, had joined the company at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. His career as an engraver continued with plates for William Chambers’ ‘Designs of Chinese Buildings’ (1757) and James Stuart’s ‘Antiquities of Athens’ (1762). He collaborated with Paul and Thomas Sandby on ‘Six London Views’, and again with Thomas for illustrations to Tasso’s ‘Jerusalem Delivered’. He died unexpectedly, at around the time of 50th birthday.
Paul Sandby was born in Nottingham. He was a painter, printmaker, draughtsman and drawing master, who made an important contribution to the development of British watercolour painting. He was taught by his elder brother Thomas Sandby (c.1723–1798), architect and draughtsman, and followed Thomas in finding employment with the Board of Ordnance. In 1747 Sandby was appointed official draughtsman to the military survey of the Scottish Highlands, following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. He continued his work in a similar capacity when employed to record military encampments in London, established following the Gordon Riots of 1780. He also held the post of chief drawing master at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich from 1768 to 1796. Sandby was a central figure in the establishment of the Society of Artists in 1761 and, like his brother Thomas, a founding member of the Royal Academy. Today, he is best-known for his numerous views of Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park, executed over a period of some 50 years. Little is known of the early life of Edward Rooker. He was a pupil of engraver Henry Roberts, based in High Holborn, while he simultaneously pursued a career in acting. Between 1748 and 1749, he engraved three complex drawings after designs by Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren. He also appeared on the stage at the New Wells Theatre, London, in 1749 and, by 1752, had joined the company at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where he remained for 22 years. Rooker’s career as an engraver continued with a print of a sectional view of St Paul’s Cathedral (1755) and works for publications, including plates for William Chambers’ Designs of Chinese Buildings (1757) and James Stuart’s 'Antiquities of Athens' (1762). He collaborated with Paul and Thomas Sandby on 'Six London Views', and again with Thomas for a series of illustrations to Tasso’s 'Jerusalem Delivered'. Rooker died unexpectedly in 1774, after inviting friends to supper at his home in Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, probably to celebrate his 50th birthday.