Sand pictures became a popular pastime from the 1840s, with the Isle of Wight’s multi-coloured sands providing an ideal medium. A centre for producing sand pictures was established at Newport, and various artists such as Edward Dore, his brother John of Arreton, and James Neat of Newport took to creating scenes with sand.
The sand painting practiced in Europe in the Victorian period is believed to originate from the Japanese art of Bonseki, where temporary landscapes and formal designs in white sand and small pebbles were created on black lacquered surfaces. These were then introduced to Europe when travellers returned from the East and evolved into the fixed scenes created with coloured sands seen in the present examples. Rare surviving pictures from 18th century Britain were also created by Benjamin Zobel, whose scenes of exotic tigers and lions were fashioned using sand.
This May, our Five Centuries: Furniture, Painting & Works of Art from 1600 auction will feature a diverse selection of sand pictures, including works by Edward Dore.