Narrow paths cross the courtyard of Scotland Yard. To the left, four men enthusiastically gesture in the same direction. To the right of them, a woman and her daughter carry pails, while a dog follows behind them. In front of a carriage, at the right of the composition, two men converse. One holds a copy of a book titled 'Vans House A Poem'. Behind the buildings to the left of the composition, the corner of the Banqueting House can be seen.
Part of the Old Whitehall Palace (destroyed by fire in 1698) was intended for the use of the Kings of Scotland. This courtyard, known as Great Scotland Yard, was named after that section of the Palace. A row of houses in the yard built in 1820, more than 50 years after this print was published, would become the temporary headquarters of the newly formed Metropolitan Police Force. The Police headquarters became known as simply Scotland Yard. The current Scotland Yard, situated in its third location on Broadway and Victoria Street, is still named after this, the original location. Great Scotland Yard, as seen in this image, no longer survives. Today, No. 55 Whitehall is probably located within the area it once occupied.
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.
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