Biography: Canadian painter and illustrator. Born in Montreal, Sandham decided at an early age to pursue an artistic career, and was employed in William Notman's photographic studio at the age of 14. By 18, he was an assistant to Notman's partner John Arthur Fraser, who managed the studio's art department. As there was no art school in Montreal at the time, Sandham learned his craft from Fraser, as well as local artists Otto Reinhold Jacobi, Adolphe Vogt, and Charles Jones Way. When Fraser left Montreal in 1868 to open a Toronto branch of Notman and Fraser, Sandham became the new head of the art department. He became partners with Notman in 1877 and the studio was renamed Notman and Sandham. This partnership lasted until 1882. The Notman studio was renowned for its composite photographs, consisting of carefully posed photographs of individuals mounted on painted backgrounds, a technique devised by Sandham.
In 1877, Sandham began creating illustrations for Scribner’s Monthly. In 1880 Sandham and his wife Agnes Fraser visited Boston, Massachusetts. Intending only to stay for a short while to complete some portrait commissions, they instead remained for nearly twenty years. It was was during this period that he decided to focus more on art and less on business. He was also known for portraits, including one of Canadian Prime Minister John A. Macdonald; and his historic paintings. During his residency in Boston,he exhibited at the Boston Art Club and the American Watercolor Society of New York.
Sandham moved to London in 1901, and continued his career there, with works shown at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1905 to 1908. His wife died in 1906, and he died in 1910. He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.