Papermaking and the Art of Watercolor in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Paul Sandby and the Whatman Paper Mill

Theresa Fairbanks Harris and Scott Wilcox, with essays and contributions by Stephen Daniels, Michael Fuller, and Maureen Green

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A fascinating look at the relationship between papermaking and the art of watercolor

At the Royal Academy exhibition of 1794, Paul Sandby (1725–1809) exhibited his newly painted A View of Vinters at Boxley, Kent, with Mr. Whatman’s Turkey Paper Mills. Sandby, one of the founding members of the Royal Academy and one of the preeminent British landscape painters of the day, included the celebrated Whatman papermaking mill at the center of this landscape composition. James Whatman I and his son James Whatman II were the most famous English papermakers of the eighteenth century, and by 1760 Turkey Mill was the largest paper mill in the country.

This handsome and engaging book looks at how the View of Vinters and Turkey Mill is both a superb example of Sandby’s art and an important document of the rise of industry in the British countryside and of the intertwined developments of papermaking and the art of painting in watercolor. It also features other watercolors by Sandby and materials relating to the processes of papermaking and to the Whatman family and its mill.

Theresa Fairbanks Harris is Chief Conservator at the Yale Center for British Art and Paper Conservator at the Yale University Art Gallery. Scott Wilcox is Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Yale Center for British Art and author of numerous books on British watercolors. Stephen Daniels is Professor of Cultural Geography, Nottingham University, U.K. Michael Fuller is a retired paper mill chemist, who formerly worked for Whatman International PLC. Maureen Green is an independent paper historian.


Yale Center for British Art (February 22 – June 4, 2006)

“…illuminating… [An] important message [is] conveyed both in the display and in its catalogue on a fascinating subject which previously has been the territory of a narrow field of paper historians and conservators.” - Jessica Feather, Burlington Magazine

“[A] thorough and well-rounded study, which, far from exhausting the subject, leaves one wishing for more in-depth collaborative readings of this type. … One often hears nowadays that English watercolours are ‘unfashionable’. Paintings of such quality, revealed in such an imaginative way, should make many people think again.” - Timothy Wilcox, The Art Newspaper
ISBN: 9780300114355
Publication Date: March 23, 2006
Co-publisher: Published in association with the Yale Center for British Art
192 pages, 8 x 10
20 b/w + 72 color illus.
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