The Welch Bridge at Shrewsbury
About the work
The Welsh Bridge in the town of Shrewsbury connects the district of Frankwell with the town centre. The aquatint print of the old Welsh Bridge looks towards Frankwell from the town. The bridge supports a battlemented gatehouse with a round tower at the right corner and a half-timbered house. Several boats can be seen on the river, while a man mends a fishing net in the foreground, as a woman and child carrying baskets walk past.
The Welsh Bridge was a favourite subject of artist Paul Sandby. An engraving after his view of ‘The Welch [sic] Bridge at Shrewsbury’ was published a year before this work in 1777, having previously appeared in ‘Copper Plate Magazine’. There is also a Sandby drawing of the bridge, dated c.1800, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is similar to this aquatint and which may have been made as an exhibition piece. A further example, dated 1772, is in the collection at the Yale Center for British Art and Sandby’s watercolour view from the opposite end of the bridge is held at the British Museum. Despite the old Welsh Bridge being razed in 1782 and a new bridge being constructed on the site in the 1790s, Sandby continued to depict it until 1806.
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 Welch Bridge at Shrewsbury
- published 1 November 1778
- Colour aquatint
- Purchased from Frank T Sabin, June 1963
- GAC number