The present watercolour shows the view of Windsor Castle from the bridge over the stream between Lower Romney Island and the Windsor shore of the Thames, close to the King's Engine House; the Round Tower can be glimpsed behind the trees on the left, while the Winchester Tower appears beyond the horses and cart in Datchet Lane. There is a rather more richly coloured version, probably later, in the Royal Collection at Windsor (RL 14593; see Roberts, loc.cit., no. 20, illustrated in colour). A similar group of figures appear, although differently distributed in the present watercolour, as in the version of the composition in the series of etched views of Windsor of 1780. A further watercolour version of a similar date as the one at Windsor was sold in Paris at the Etude Couturier Nicolay on 17 June 1994, lot 32. The identification of the present work with the view of the Castle from the King's Engine House (in the Banks Collection), sold in these rooms in 1876, is suggested by Roberts, loc. cit..
The same view appears as a night scene with rockets in Windsor Castle from Datchet Lane on a rejoicing night of circa 1768 (Royal Library, Windsor, RL 17598; Roberts, op. cit., p. 72, illustrated fig. 19.1). The present work probably dates from about the same time.
The present watercolour is thought to have been in the collection of Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), the explorer, naturalist, and President of the Royal Society who was also an important early patron of Sandby. Banks' great series of Sandby's views of Windsor and Eton were sold at Christie's in 1876 and it was at that sale that the Royal Collection made a major accession. Sandby undertook a seven week tour with Sir Joseph Banks and Dr Daniel Solander in 1773. He gathered topographical material for a publication of 24 aquatint views in Wales, dedicated to Banks, whilst Banks and Solander concentrated their efforts on botanical study.