Paul Sandby was one of the founding members of the Royal Academy and one of the preeminent British landscape painters of his time. Born in Nottingham in 1731, Sandby quickly developed his talent for draughtsmanship and joined the topographical drawing room of the Board of Ordnance at the Tower of London, where he excelled. From the 1750s to the 1770s Sandby travelled around Britain painting country houses and pastoral views, as well as ruins and mills in the landscape. He has been credited both with developing topography into art and with championing watercolour as a medium of significance in its own right. Although best known for his landscapes he was also a cruel caricaturist and rival to Hogarth.
Sandby was appointed chief drawing master at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1768 until his retirement in 1796. When there he lived in lodgings at Old Charlton in and painted a number of views of Woolwich.