The Encampment in St. James’s Park, 1780
About the work
On 2 June 1780, Lord George Gordon presented a petition of some 44,000 names of Londoners, demanding the repeal of the Catholic Relief Act, to parliament. A crowd of c.60,000 people gathered in Southwark and marched to Westminster, where they assembled at Palace Yard. In the following days the protestors grew violent. King George III called out the troops, who remained in encampments, set up in St James’s Park and Hyde Park until the rioting ceased in August that year. Watercolourist Paul Sandby painted a record of the army's movements and their life within the encampments. He exhibited six of these views at the Royal Academy in 1781 and also published sets of aquatints of his watercolours.
There are at least three original watercolours by Sandby on which this print of St. James’s Park is based. One is at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. Another was sold from a private collection through Christie’s, London, in 2009. A third, showing the two boys and girl with a dog that appear to the right of the print (which may represent the artists’ children Thomas and Nancy, and his nephew Jeffrey) is in the Castle Museum, Nottingham.
About the artist
Paul Sandby, painter, printmaker and drawing master, was born in Nottingham. He was taught by his elder brother, architect and draughtsman Thomas Sandby, and followed Thomas in working at the Board of Ordnance. In 1747, he was made official draughtsman to the military survey of the Scottish Highlands, following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. During the Gordon Riots of 1780, he was employed to record the military encampments in London. He was chief drawing master at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich from 1768 to 1796. Sandby was involved in the establishment of the Society of Artists and was a founder member of the Royal Academy. His made numerous views of Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park, over a period of around 50 years.
Paul Sandby (1731 - 1809)
- The Encampment in St. James’s Park, 1780
- published May 1783
- Colour aquatint
- Purchased from Agnew's, January 1956
- GAC number