Sandby was trained as a cartographer, and was the chief commissioner in the mapping of the Scottish Highlands. He started sketching during this assignment, and after returning to London in 1752, he became a professional artist. Alongside his brother Thomas, they were commissioned to paint landscapes around Windsor - he was regarded as the most important English landscape painter. He was instrumental in the creation of the Royal Academy, and was for a long period chief drawing master of the Royal Military Academy. He made a trip to Wales, leaving behind a series of views - these, alongside other images, were published in the collection "Virtuosi's Museum".