Little is known about the early life of Paul Sandby, but it is believed that he received his initial training from his older brother, Thomas Sandby (1721-1798). He was appointed Chief Drawing Master at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1768 at the height of his career and continued in this position until 1796, during which time he took lodgings at Charlton. At the time, Charlton was a reasonably small village on the north side of Blackheath. Sandby became known for his topographical accuracy and meticulous observation, which can be seen in the present watercolour in the detailing in the houses on either side of the road, particularly the windows on the extreme right of the sheet and in the groups of people as they meander along the road. A similar view, entitled Village Street, Charlton, Kent, depicting the same street but from the opposite end, was executed in the later 1770s and illustrates a similar scene but with the large tree on the right opposite end the houses (see L. Herrmann, Paul and Thomas Sandby, London, 1986, p. 95, illustrated).