The First and Only
Authoritative Account

of the
Life and Work
of the
pictor londini

and the

Foundation of the English School


response to a research grant application 30th Nov 1999


"Mediocre minds cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly uses his intelligence."

Albert Einstein: amateur mathematician

"The truth ... is that to the dilettante the thing is the end, while to the professional as such it is the means; and only he who is directly interested in a thing, and occupies himself with it from love of it, will pursue it with entire seriousness. It is from such as these, and not from wage-earners, that the greatest things have always come."

Arthur Schopenhauer, 1851

"Truth is born into this world only with pangs and tribulations, and every fresh truth is received unwillingly. To expect the world to receive a new truth, or even an old truth, without challenging it, is to look for one of those miracles which do not occur"

Alfred Russel Wallace

"The greatest historical heresy that a writer can commit in the eyes of many English readers is to tell them the truth."

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, 1747 - 1813, author, translator and lawyer.

"When a thing is asserted as a fact, always ask who first reported it, and what means he had of knowing the truth."

James Spedding, 1808 - 1881.

"Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will ignore you."

William Blake, 1790-3

"The very character of bureaucratic administration automatically screens out all those who are capable of doing any other sort of work. ..... An administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big by merging his nonentity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him."

Marshall McLuhan, June 22 1951

"Scholars belong to guilds held together by common opinions, attitudes, and methods. As a rule, innovation is welcome only when it is confined to surface details and does not modify the structure as a whole."

Cyrus H.Gordon, 1982

"..... a scholarly myth can spread 'like a computer virus' until it becomes accepted historical fact."

Helen Morales, TLS, May 15, 2009, p 11

Iain Pears' 1988 study, The Discovery of Painting: The Growth of Interest in the Arts in England 1680-1768, is the most refreshing art-historical work I have read. Unblinkered by hereditary prejudice, or the self-perpetuating replication of bureaucratic thinking, it sheds brilliant light on the murky backwaters of academic research into the pre-Hogarthian origins of English art. My regret is that I did not discover it until the end of 2001, after this website was well under way. Any examination of Peter Monamy's life and work, 1681-1749, should start with a close reading of Pears, whose scholarship, in the words of Charles Saumarez-Smith "completely transforms one's conception" of these years in English painting, and gives lucid expression to the themes I was only stumbling and groping towards in the early 1980s.

This website is indebted to numberless people
but especially to
Mrs Joan Stevens
Mr Michael Robinson
Commander David Joel, RN
Mr George Norman
Mrs Pat Duinker
Mr Bruce Macbeth
Mrs Alison Barnes
Mr Robert Cottrell
and to the research resources of
The Witt Library at The Courtauld Institute
The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
and to
The Leverhulme Trust for a Grant in 1982
to which these pages remain obliged

   

A Conference Paper: January 2004
summarising the contents of this website to date

A Conference Paper: January 2005
reputation & reality

"Yesterday Evening was buried at St.Margaret's Westminster, Mr.Peter Monamy, greatly eminent for his Skill in Painting Sea Pieces; in which Art, as he was not equall'd by any of his Cotemporaries, neither was he excell'd by many of the Ancients; but his Name and Character are too well known and establish'd among the Curious to need any artful Commendation to set them in greater Light to advance his Merit; neither can the warmest Praise add to his Fame when dead, who, in his Life, was the greatest enemy to Adulation; and tho' some Notice is due to the Memory of so celebrated an Artist in Painting, yet his own Performances, which are extant in the World, will prove his most lasting Monument."

from The London Gazetteer, 9th February 1749

Scanned from which publication, and posted to me by Mr Robert Cottrell, February 2015


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