The West Front of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden
Coloured engraving31 December 1766
- About the work
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.