Untold lives blog

18 posts categorized "Maps"

27 April 2017

Picturing Places - Taking a wider view?

Think of the British Library’s collections - it is probably books rather than prints and drawings which come to mind.  Think of Gainsborough, Constable or Turner:  do you picture Sublime, imaginary paintings rather than ‘topographical’, place-specific prints and drawings?

The eruption of Vesuvius

33.h.7.: Peter Fabris, The eruption of Vesuvius, from Supplement to the Campi Phelgraei (1779) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Picturing Places, a new free online resource launched today by the British Library, aims to widen perceptions of both the British Library’s holdings and topographical art.

Interior view of the east end of Netley Abbey near Southampton

Maps K.Top.14.83.e.: Anonymous, Interior view of the east end of Netley Abbey near Southampton (about 1790-1810) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Rather than seeing topography as marginal compared to the landscapes in oils or watercolours by the canon of ‘great artists’ or more imaginative and Sublime images, Picturing Places celebrates images of specific places in the graphic arts, sparking a lively debate around nationhood, identity, and cultural value.

Panorama of Ratisbon (Regensburg)

Panorama of Ratisbon (Regensburg)

Add MS 36486 C: George Scharf, Panorama of Ratisbon (Regensburg) (1845) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The British Library holds the world’s most extensive and important collection of British topographic materials: from handwritten notes by antiquarians to rare first editions, extra-illustrated books and unique compilations of plates, text and drawings by named collectors, the British Library is a treasure trove for anyone with an interest in the intersections between place, art, representation and history.  The full extent and depth of the collections are only now being properly recognised and explored. 

A service in Bath Abbey (1788)

Add MS 15546, f.101: Samuel Hieronymus Grimm, A service in Bath Abbey (1788) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Picturing Places explores the Library’s extensive holdings of landscape imagery and showcases works of art by well-known artists such as J.M.W. Turner alongside images by a multitude of lesser-known figures.  Only a few have ever been seen or published before, as historically, the British Library’s prints and drawings have been overlooked by scholars.  The material in these extensive collections reflect the scholarly and artistic practices of earlier eras when images and texts would have been seen as more closely equivalent.  They have been neglected due both to the overwhelming volume of material and the perception of their relative ‘insignificance’ in the context of a national library where text has always taken precedence. 


746.e.2.: Robert Wallis after JMW Turner, Stonehenge, from Picturesque Views in England and Wales (1829) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

While landscape images have often been treated as accurate records of place, this website reveals for the first time the many different stories involved – about travel and empire, science and exploration, the imagination, history and observation.

The ruins of Killaru, Islay (1772)

Add MS 15509, f.11: John Cleveley, junior, The ruins of Killaru, Islay (1772) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Picturing Places is an outcome of a current British Library research project, Transforming Topography, which we began in 2013 with a research workshop sponsored by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.   We have partnered with other institutions such as the Royal Collection and British Museum and with academics worldwide.  93 authors representing emerging and established experts in fields such as art history, history, cultural geography and geography are currently involved, and we have 108 essays now being processed for publication.  Films from the Library’s 2016 Transforming Topography conference exploring the depiction of place are also available, providing revelatory insights about the history of landscape imagery.

Keep an eye on Picturing Places and  @bl_prints for updates as the project progresses.

Felicity Myrone
Lead Curator, Western Prints & Drawings


06 June 2016

Making stale and nauseous water sweet!

An advertisement was sent to the Secretary of the East India Company in 1763 about the intended publication of a series of engravings of the Battle of Havana.  The views were to be taken from sketches drawn in 1762 by ‘the Inventor of the Machine for reducing stale and nauseous Water, sweet’. 

IOR E 1 45 f.470

 Advertisement sent to the East India Company in 1763, IOR/E/1/45 f.470 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The artist and inventor was Elias Durnford (1739-1794), a civil engineer with the British Army, who is better known for his role surveying and developing a town plan for Pensacola in Florida.

Durnford was born in 1739 in Ringwood, Hampshire, the eldest son of Elias Durnford senior.  He trained as a civil engineer under John Peter Desmaretz of the drawing office in the Tower of London.  Appointed ensign in the Royal Engineers in March 1759, he served with the Royal Navy at the battle of Havana in 1762.  Durnford was appointed aide-de-camp to Lord Albemarle and was asked to draw a series of sketches of the battle, which were later published as announced in the advert. After Cuba, Durnford was sent to Florida as chief engineer and surveyor, where he was responsible for drawing up the town plans for Pensacola. In 1769 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor, an appointment he held until 1778.

During his time in America, Durnford also designed a plan for a canal to run from the Mississippi to the town of Mobile. If it had been implemented the scheme would have been the first canal in America.  As well as potentially bringing new trade and settlement, the canal could perhaps have changed the course of the War. Military and political difficulties at the time however meant the proposal was never properly considered.

Plan of Mobile, 1763

Maps K.Top.122.94.1 Plan of Mobile, 1763 Images Online  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Durnford was still living in Florida at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War and was given command of Fort Charlotte at Mobile, a town near his estates. Durnford was heavily outnumbered during the war but refused to surrender the fort, believing relief would come from Pensacola. He eventually surrendered in March 1780 after having safely negotiated safe passage home for the English residents, and protection from persecution for the locals who had assisted him. His estates and plantation were however burned to the ground.

Pensacola maps_k_topCoastline of Pensacola as seen from the sea, 1763 _122_97

Maps K.Top.122.97 Coastline of Pensacola as seen from the sea, 1763 Images Online Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

On returning to England Durnford worked on the ‘Makers Height’ defences at Plymouth Docks, before being appointed Chief Engineer in the Caribbean, where he eventually died of yellow fever on 21 June 1794.

Several of the engravings produced from Durnford’s original sketches are in the King George III Topographical Collection at the British Library. The Library also holds a copy of the published engravings from the 1760s.

I have been unable to discover anything so far about Durnford’s machine for purifying stale water. Was it a success?  Can any of our readers help?

Karen Stapley
Curator, India Office Records

Further reading:
IOR/E/1/45, f 470 - advertisement for a publication of engravings of the battle of Havana.
William Elliot,  A view of the Harbour & City of Havana.  Six views for Lord Albemarle, inscribed by Elias Durnford (London, 1764).
Maps K. Top. 123.28.a through to Maps K. Top. 128.28.f - The King's Topographical Collection holds the six engravings, produced from Elias Durnford’s original sketches, which were published between February 1764 and August 1765.
Add MS 16367 G - A coloured military plan of the attacks carried on by the English in 1762 against the city of Havanah and Moro Fort, surveyed by Lieut. [Elias] Durnford, 1762.
The National Archives hold the plans and drawings for the town of Pensacola; along with drawings and correspondence relating to the proposed canal from Mississippi to Mobile.


11 March 2016

Did he intend to blow the [insert film quotation here] doors off? An eighteenth-century powder mill in Germany.

King George III’s Topographical Collection, currently the subject of an ongoing cataloguing and digitisation project here at the British Library, contains some approximately 40,000 maps and topographical views from around the world. Amongst the collection are objects that suggest an interest, perhaps George’s own, in engineering and other technical endeavours; there are plans, projected and realised, for canals, roads, military fortifications, siegeworks and so on.

One recently catalogued item within the collection could be seen to embody this combined interest in maps and engineering. It is an eighteenth-century manuscript map showing a powder mill, for the manufacture of gunpowder, in Germany.

Maps K.Top.100.34.

PLAN DER IM AMTE HARBURG OHNWEIT MEKELFELD belegenenen Pulver Mühle / G. Braun fec. Maps K.Top.100.34. Untitled

Entitled PLAN DER IM AMTE HARBURG OHNWEIT MEKELFELD belegenenen Pulver Mühle, this map is signed at lower right by “G. Braun”. A date of about 1770 is attributed for the map’s production based on comparison with another map in the collection (Maps K.Top.100.33.) that is dated and also signed by Braun.

  Maps K.Top.100.34. [detail showing signature]

Maps K.Top.100.34. [detail showing signature] Untitled

The map shows the mill at Meckelfeld in present-day Lower Saxony, located south-east of Harburg in the borough of Hamburg. The mill buildings are shown on the river, the source of power driving the mill to grind the gunpowder.

Maps K.Top.100.34. [detail of mill buildings]

Maps K.Top.100.34. [detail of mill buildings] Untitled

The skill and care involved in the map’s production (it is certainly not a preliminary sketch) could suggest that it was intended to be seen (and used?) by a person or persons of note. Had George III himself, perhaps as King of Hanover, expressed an interest in this mill?

It is the decorated title cartouche at lower left that emphasises the map’s unusual subject matter.

Maps K.Top.100.34. [title cartouche]

Maps K.Top.100.34. [title cartouche showing an explosion] Untitled

Not only does this cartouche include a lettered key to the individual buildings shown on the map, which comprise the powder magazine, the drying house, the coal house and the saltpetar store (?), amongst others, it also depicts, quite fabulously, what happens when things, perhaps, don’t turn out exactly as planned. Given the look of mild surprise rather than abject horror and outright panic on the depicted gentleman’s face within the cartouche, one might conclude that such explosions were not uncommon!

Kate Marshall, Maps Cataloguer, King George III's Topographical Collection

30 January 2016

A tradition of trade: the opening of the London Docks

January marks the 211th anniversary of the opening of the London Docks.

The London docks were built by John Rennie, the Scottish civil engineer also responsible for canals, aqueducts, bridges and other docks.  Before the docks were built, it could take up to three months for cargo to be unloaded, leaving precious goods at risk of damage or theft.  The construction of the docks allowed the London Dock Company to command a 21-year monopoly over ships carrying rice, tobacco, wine and brandy, from all over the world with the exception of the East and West Indies.

The British Library has material relating to the London Docks which can be found on Explore the British Library.

This includes a significant number of views as well as early printed material relating to its planning and opening such as 'Reasons in favour of the London Docks' by William Vaughan, 1797, a copy of which was presented to the British Musuem by Vaughan himself.


'Reasons in favour of the London Docks' by William Vaughan, 1797, in A collection of tracts on wet docks for the Port of London, 1797. British Library 1029.d.9.(5). Untitled

The docks fast became a part of London topography and images of them were included in published walking tours such as Walks through London by William Clarke and Views of London by Charles Heath.


The Shipping Entrance, London Docks, drawn and engraved by John Charles Varrall for the 'Walks through London', published by William Clarke, New Bond Street, January 1817, British Library 010349 n 22.   Untitled


'Entrance to the London Docks' engraved by Charles Heath, drawn by Peter DeWint, published by Hurst, Robinson & Co, London, 1829, in Views of London. British Library 010349.n.22. Untitled

Views of the Docks were produced in all shapes and sizes and at different prices. Probably the most impressive and expensive were the bird's-eye-views by William Daniell. These hand-coloured aquatints were large at 49 x 86 cm and were self-published by Daniell in 1808 as part of the series Views of the London Docks. Today, the area around Wapping and the London Docks is virtually unrecognisable from the scenes depicted by Daniell.


A View of the London Dock. Drawn, engraved and published by William Daniell, 1808. Aquatint with hand-colouring. British Library Maps K.Top.21.31.3.b.PORT.11 TAB.Untitled


An elevated view of the new dock in Wapping. Drawn, engraved and published by William Daniell, 1808. Aquatint with hand-colouring. British Library Maps K.Top.21.31.3.a.PORT.11 TAB.Untitled

Alexandra Ault, Curator, Manuscripts and Archives 1601-1850, British Library.

12 January 2016

Mud Hovels, Mean Houses and Natural Philosophy

John Michael Houghton was an important member of the East India Company’s expedition that surveyed the Persian Gulf during the 1820s. A talented draughtsman by trade (his fourth son was the painter Arthur Boyd Houghton), he drew many of the charts and maps produced by the survey, now held in the British Library’s India Office Records map collection. Houghton’s drawings of towns such as Dubai, Sharjah and Al Bida (Doha) are amongst the earliest-known visual descriptions of these places.

  Watercolour view ‘Debay in 6 ½ fathoms’

Lieutenant Houghton, ‘Debay in 6 ½ fathoms’ IOR/X/10310, f 15 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence


Houghton also wrote a ‘memoir’ which describes all that he saw on the survey between Musandam and Dubai. This memoir has been digitised and is now published on the Qatar Digital Library.

Houghton was born in London in 1797, the son of a naval surgeon employed by the East India Company.  He received a classical education before sailing for China on board the Elphinstone on 25 March 1812. In Canton he transferred to the Bombay Marine’s survey ship Discovery, which spent five years surveying the China Seas. By 1821, Houghton had risen to the rank of Second Lieutenant, and was working as marine draughtsman on the East India Company’s survey of the shores of the Persian Gulf.

  Houghton’s signature, in the introduction to his ‘Memoir’

Houghton’s signature, in the introduction to his ‘Memoir’ of the Arab coast of the Gulf. IOR/X/10309, f 4 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence


Lieutenant John Guy, commanding officer of the Discovery, engaged Houghton to produce an account of the voyage along the Arab coast of the Gulf.  In vivid detail he described the coastal landscapes he saw, and the human settlements and local rulers he encountered, writing from the perspective of an outsider encountering a foreign land. Houghton described the houses of Sharjah as ‘mean’ and the town of Dubai as ‘a miserable assemblage of mud hovels, surrounded by a cow mud wall’.

  View of part of coast from Jezeerat Gunnum to Ras Sheik Munsoud

Lieutenant Houghton, Extract of the coast from Jezeerat Gunnum to Ras Sheik Munsoud. ‘Continuation’. IOR/X/10310, f 7 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence


Of greatest interest to Houghton were the geological formations he saw from the deck of the Discovery.  Studying the cliffs and shallow inlets encountered along the Arabian coast of the Persian Gulf, Houghton compared and contrasted what he saw with what he had read in the latest geological studies from Europe, including the works of  John Playfair, Erhard Georg Friedrich Wrede, Leopold von Buch, and John MacCulloch.

Plate showing a coastal view from John MacCulloch, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, including the Isle of Man
Plate from John MacCulloch, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, including the Isle of Man (1819) via archive.orgPublic Domain Creative Commons Licence


Comparing the southern climes of the Persian Gulf with the seas around northern Europe, Houghton began to formulate conclusions of his own. His observations led him to refute Wrede’s ideas that ‘the sea is retreating to the southern hemisphere’, and the Italian natural philosopher Paolo Frisi’s assertion that the sea appeared to be ‘sinking near the poles, and rising towards the Equator’.

Houghton continued his rise through the ranks of the Bombay Marine after the completion of the Persian Gulf survey. By 1833, he had risen to the rank of Commander, and was Auditor of the Indian Navy. Ill health forced him to retire in 1838, though it was not until 1874 that he died at his home in Hampstead, London.

Mark Hobbs
Subject Specialist, British Library/Qatar Foundation Partnership 

Further reading:
Maps and other records produced by Houghton on the Qatar Digital Library
‘Coast Views taken while employed on the Survey of the Arabian Side of the Gulf of Persia By Lieutenant M. Houghton, Draughtsman H.C. Marine’. IOR/X/10310. British Library, London
‘Persian Gulf single charts.–Memoir.–Lieut. Houghton’. IOR/X/10309. British Library, London
Paul Hogarth, Arthur Boyd Houghton (London: Gordon Fraser, 1981)
Maurice Packer, Officers of the Bombay Marine (London: c.2012)

03 December 2015

Fanciful fortifications?

King George III’s Topographical Collections contains a number of important and unique separate volumes, particularly manuscript atlases. One such example is the so-called “Molino Atlas”.

The Molino atlas is a collection of manuscript maps and drawings depicting, on the whole, geographical locations important to the Venetian Empire. It is named for the Molino family of Venice, to whom a number of the maps are dedicated, and the majority of the maps were created around 1630.

  The Molino family arms
The Molino family arms taken from Maps K.Top.78.31.b.(vol.ii.20.).
[previously Maps 6.TAB.5.(20).]   Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The atlas is significant not only for its George III provenance, but also for once having belonged to Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) and it is listed in the Sloane printed books catalogue.  Sloane presented the atlas to Queen Caroline, consort of George II.

Previous catalogue descriptions have disputed the number of maps contained within. The British Museum’s  1829 catalogue  of the collection suggests the atlas contains 95 maps, but the 1844 catalogue of manuscript maps, charts and plans suggests 94 maps. The current count confirms there are actually 117 separate items in the atlas, to include maps and also some drawings.

Of particular interest are a number of maps of imagined and idealised military locations. It would not have been unusual for a young, earnest and ambitious military engineer to undertake such maps at this time.

  Plan and section of fortifications
Maps K.Top.78.31.b.(vol.ii.1.). [previously Maps 6.TAB.5.(1).]  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The map above was identified as "A plan and section of the fortifications of Palma" in the 1844 catalogue. However, the shape of the fort does not seem to correspond to Palma, Majorca (there is no indication of any coastline), nor does it correspond in number of bastions to that magnificent Venetian-built star fort of 1593 at Palmanova, Italy.

  Map of fort signed by Giovanni Battista Vitelli
Maps K.Top.78.31.b.(vol.ii.20.). [previously Maps 6.TAB.5.(20). Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

This map is unusual within the atlas for being signed; by Giovanni Battista Vitelli. The lengthy text at lower left, surmounted by the Molino coat of arms, comprises a dedication to Filippo Molino.

Map of fortress with text
 Detail from Maps K.Top.78.31.b.(vol.ii.20.). [previously Maps 6.TAB.5.(20).]  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Again, the 1844 catalogue is quick to assign the map as being, "A plan of the fortress of Trau" However, the fort bears no resemblance to any defences in Trau (now Trogir, Croatia). Careful reading of the text confirms it was produced in Trau, and seems to be another example of an imagined fort (with a waterway running through it!).

  Map of fort
Maps K.Top.78.31.b.(vol.ii.26.). [previously Maps 6.TAB.5.(26).]  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Finally, this map has previously been catalogued as “Casal” (Casale Monferrato?), but shows seven bastions, whereas the citadel actually had six. Whether this is a plan for an imagined fort, or whether it exists (or existed) and has not yet been identified correctly, or whether it is a proposal for a fort, it is an interesting inclusion in the atlas.

These are not the only maps of imaginary locations within the K.Top, there is evidence to suggest even George III produced his own map  of an invented palace, but the Molino atlas is a wonderful repository for many of these idealised maps.

Kate Marshall
Map Cataloguer, King’s Topographical Collections  


19 November 2015

A cartographic life unknown and untold



This map really presents the case for an unknown, and certainly untold, life; its maker, or rather cartographer, remains anonymous and no other institutional examples of the map have been traced to date.

Titled “DISSEGNO E FORTIFICATIONE DI PIADENA E DI CANETO” the map forms part of the King’s Topographical Collection. The collection, formerly belonging to George III, was donated to the British Museum by George IV and is now held by the British Library. It comprises some 40,000 maps, prints and drawings of all areas of the world. The collection is currently being digitised and re-catalogued, improving records that often date from 1829 and show only brief titles concerned solely with the geographical location depicted and not with those involved in an item’s creation, its physical attributes or its context.

The map shows Piadena and Canneto sull’Oglio in Italy.

Maps_k_top_78_10_1 KEY

With a title and key in Italian, as well as the Italian subject matter, then Italy is a likely place of publication. Reference to the Duke of Nevers in the key, as well as to the quarters of Spanish and other troops, suggests a date of publication for the map during or shortly after the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628-1631). Charles Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers and Duke of Mantua, as he would become, was successful in his claim to the Duchy of Mantua.

The map’s existence within the K.Top in a printed and published state, and not just as a manuscript, suggests that public interest in the War had warranted the map’s publication. However, that interest may have been relatively short-lived; if this K.Top example is the single exemplar then the numbers published are likely to have been relatively small. Thus, the map’s survival illustrates the importance of K.Top as a repository for such ephemeral, but extremely scarce, material .

Maps_k_top_78_10_1 KK

The engraving shows traces of a pair of initials at lower left, perhaps “K. K.”.  If these initials do indeed suggest the identity of a person involved in the map’s creation, then that creator remains enigmatic.

Kate Marshall, Map Cataloguer Kings Topographical Collection.

09 November 2015

'What language can impart the mournful feelings of a throbbing heart?': drawings and poetry by Paul and Thomas Sandby.

Here at the British Library we’re not quite tripping over drawings and manuscripts by the brilliant draughtsmen and water-colourists Paul (1731-1809) and Thomas (1723-1798) Sandby, but we’re not far off.

To mark Paul Sandby’s death on this day (9 November) in 1809, I’ve chosen to share a few of the Sandby items we have in our Manuscripts and Topographical Collections. 

This panorama of Edinburgh looks towards the Firth of Forth from the Castle Bank with the poet Allan Ramsay’s house in the lower centre.


Edinburgh & the north lock with the bank on which the new town is built, by Paul Sandby, circa 1750, pen and black ink with watercolour. Maps K.Top.50.96.b. Noc

Another example of Paul’s varied career is the ‘Surveying Party by Kinloch Rannoch’ of 1749 in King George III’s Topographical Collection. Sandby had been appointed draughtsman to the Board of Ordnance’s survey of the Highlands in 1746 and this drawing shows one of the six military surveying parties undertaking the survey of Scotland after the Battle of Culloden. The detail in the drawing goes some way to showing us how the survey operated. It is possible to see one figure using a circumfrentor with another holding a flag. The pencil lines beneath the pen and ink around the horse’s leg shows where Sandby was working out the composition. 

  Maps K.Top.50.83.2_MSI_PSCsmallSurveying Party by Kinloch Rannoch, 1749 by Paul Sandby. Pen and black ink with watercolour over pencil. Maps K.Top.50.83.2. Noc

The Manuscripts Department also has a large number of Paul and Thomas Sandby drawings and archival material.  We’ve got a really exciting volume containing letters and poems as well as recipes for paints, glazes and aquatint at Add MS 36994, presented to the British Museum by William Arnold Sandby in 1904.

Within this volume are poems by Paul Sandby to his friend, Royal Academician and marine artist to King George III, Dominic Serres (1722-1793). Serres lived near Paul in St George’s Row, London and Paul wrote a number of poems to mark his neighbour's birthdays.  Part of one poem reads:

‘Paul Sandby, his good wife and Miss
Present their compliments with this
To all the family of Serres
If any mortal care has
They’l thro’ it to the winds away
To celebrate Dom’s natal day
For surely laughter, fun and glee
Will make the happy moments flee.’

This was written on ‘Wednesday Evening, 16 Jany’ and although undated, another poem written for Serres’s birthday of 1787 bound nearby, suggests that this was written in the 1780s.

Paul Sandby also composed poems to mark Serres’s death. One entitled ‘Verse to the memory of Dominic Serres Esqr written by his sincere friend P Sandby’ draws on maritime imagery to describe the tragedy of Serres’s passing:

‘Ah! Me, what language can impart
The mournful feelings of a throbbing heart?
No more the flag which royal Clarence gave
In ambient air its sportive colours wave
Cold is that hand which joyfull won’t to raise
The splendid ensign upon gala days.’

A surprising addition to the volume  is a poem entitled ‘on seeing a portrait of Dominic Serres Esquire painted by his Son Dom and a gold frame with an anchor and cable round design’d by his son John’. The poem begins:

‘Wicked sons of Dom Serres, can you think it well done
Is this doing your duty, or marks of your fun?
To hand your poor father high up by a rope
And to leave him Depending on the anchor of hope?’

Evidently Sandby was unhappy with the portrait of his late friend and sent the poem to the sons Dominic M Serres (circa 1761-1804) and John Thomas Serres (1759-1825) as the outside of the manuscript is addressed ‘Messrs John & Dom Serres’. It has not been possible to trace the whereabouts of the portrait of Serres by his son, if indeed it existed at all. Looking at these poems and letters it is clear that more research into the relationship between Paul Sandby and the Serres family can be undertaken.


 Poem by Paul Sandby, addressed to John and Dominic Serres after the death of their father, Dominic Serres. Add MS 36994 ff. 63. Noc

Also within Add MS 36994 is a drawing by Thomas Sandby of his cottage at Clay Hall, Windsor which is where he and his family lived when they first left London and moved to Windsor.


Clay Hall cottage by Thomas Sandby, circa 1755, pen and black ink with watercolour over pencil. Add MS 36995 ff. 3.Noc

Another highlight also in Add MS 36994 is an entrance ticket to a Royal Academy Lecture in November 1788. It presents a mystery as it bears both Thomas Sandby’s and William Beville’s names.


Admission ticket to a Royal Academy Lecture November 1788. Add MS 36995 ff 12.Noc

Within Manuscripts there are countless Paul and Thomas Sandby drawings and manuscripts including a series of plans by Paul Sandby at Add MS 42572 A-H

We’ve also made a number of exciting discoveries of hitherto unrecorded drawings and watercolours by the Sandby brothers. They include a watercolour of Inveraray by Paul, a pencil sketch of Windsor by Paul and a view of Nottingham Marketplace by Thomas. We expect to uncover more treasures by the brothers in the coming months – so watch this space.  


Alexandra Ault, Curator, Manuscripts and Archives 1601-1850

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