Sandby's First Drawing Book of Figures :

a scarce selection of Paul Sandby prints.

I have recently acquired a set of 8 pages of Figure Studies by Paul Sandby, titled "The First Drawing Book of Figures by P. Sandby." Each sheet is separate, but the last sheet has holes in the left-hand margin, suggesting that they were once bound together. This last sheet has been cropped, but the set is in a full numerical sequence 1 - 21. Whether there were more after number 21 I cannot say.

On consulting Ann Gunn's comprehensive Catalogue Resonne of Sandby prints, I began to realise that this was quite a rare item. She writes: "These cheap little books were extremely ephemeral and few have survived. They were either separated or cut up and pasted on walls for decoration."I have since been in touch with Ann Gunn who has confirmed that this is an extremely rare collection. It was issued by F. Vivares. Ms Gunn suspects that the plates were acquired by Vivares after Ryland and Bryer went bankrupt, and they would have been published sometime before 1780, when Vivares died. My thanks to Ann Gunn both for her Catalogue, and for the information. 

The set is well worth adding to my website, not least because some of them are likely to be sketches made in Scotland. I will title each one with those found in Gunn's catalogue, and add any comment that she makes. Most of the images are small, showing scenes of everyday life, mundane perhaps, but of interest for that very reason.

The title page shows the "caricatured heads 

of a man and woman, and the figure of a man

with a leek or a feather in his hat."

[Hat undecorated in the first set.] The leek

suggests a welshman?

"Old Man and Woman Seated on a Bench. Dated 1747 on the print - Sandby's earliest dated etching.

"Old Man with Staff over his shoulder."

"A Soldier with a Musket On Guard, a Windmill in the background."

"A Man with a Basket over his Shoulder."

"A Man Carrying a Hod on his Back."

"Milk - a Woman carrying Milk-Pails on a Yoke."

"A Woman with a Stick and a Basket, a Tower in the Background."

"Man, Leaning on a Staff, Buildings Beyond."

"A Man with a Basket."

"Walking Woman in a Cloak, Figures in the Background." Gunn suspects this is an Edinburgh Scene."

"Man with a Spade and a Dog."

"Street Scene At Night with a Sedan Chair and Figures." One of several prints c.1758 in which Sandby experimented with ways of conveying night scenes."

"Two Men, a Woman and a Boy with a Hoop." Another Edinburgh scene?

"A Man with a Barrow, a Woman with a Basket and Other Figures." An Edinburgh scene?

"A Dairy Maid and her Lover." Note the cat helping itself!

"Two Men with a Dog, Conversing, a Woman in the Background." An Edinburgh scene?

"Seated Lovers by a Lake or River." Early states of this print had a longer blank margin at the bottom.

"A Group of Figures in a Landscape." An Edinburgh scene?

"Three Road Builders, with Rococo Border." c.1754 - see similar figures in Sandby's drawing "The Great Bridge over the Virginia River" dated 1754.

"Two Road Builders, within a Rococo Border." Also c.1754?

In addition to this Drawing Book, I have a larger collection of Sandby engravings, 53 in all. Many of these date from Sanby's time in Scotland, and some are duplicated in the above Drawing Book. I shall display those pertaining to Scotland on another page on this website. The selection includes some notable images of Edinburgh.