William Michael Rossetti called Sandys “the greatest of living draughtsmen” and it is easy to see why. In every work we can see the skill with which Sandys could depict the minutest of details.
Sandys’ earliest work shows his obvious talent and enjoyment of painting things in as realistic a way as possible. His first commissions, for J.H. Gurney and James Bulwer, involved close observation and exact reproduction of buildings, objects and birds.
In this painting of an antique box from Blickling Hall we can see how Sandys has made an exact image of the real object, even down to the textures of the different materials.
These early paintings provided Sandys with a method of working he was to use throughout his life.