Paul Sandby’s tour of North Wales in 1771 is thought to be the first picturesque journey of its kind in the country undertaken by a professional artist and his patron.

Sandby, who was born in Nottingham, is believed to have learned his prodigious skills as a draughtsman from his brother, Thomas, who later became a prominent architect.

In August 1771, Sandby set out on his two-week tour of North Wales with Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, an important patron of the arts and owner of extensive estates in the region. Among the pictures painted by Sandby on the tour, and included in this acquisition, are: Overton Bridge over the River Dee; The Abbey of Llan Egwerst; A Crowd Welcomes Sir Watkin Williams Wynn to Bala; Harlech Castle in Merionethshire with Snowdon at a Distance; and Pont-Aber-Glasllin.

The aquatints published in 1776 of Sandby’s romantic views of North Wales did a great deal to establish a tour of the country as a fashionable trip for Georgian seekers of the sublime. These seminal works in the history of Wales as a tourist destination have now been acquired by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, where they join 122 other works by Sandby in the collection.


The collection of the Earls of Hume: reported to have been discovered in a portfolio in the collection at The Hirsel, Berwickshire (Scottish Borders) by Sir Alec Douglas-Hume (1903-1995), 1970s. Labels of framemaker John Mathieson & Co, Edinburgh, 1970s?

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