Monamy died in early 1749. He was buried at St Margaret's, Westminster, on 7th February. The news of Captain Saumarez' capture of the Mars would have reached England by the end of 1746. At some time between the beginning of 1747 and the end of 1748 Monamy painted the above picture. It can scarcely be doubted that it is by his own hand. It can be seen in two ways; either as a melancholy, palsied effort by a painter well beyond his prime, decayed and infirm, incapable of rendering the perspective of a bowsprit correctly, or else as anticipating an art that was to come.
40 x 50 unsigned. Christie's 10th May 1996, lot 545.
Line print, 10¼ x 15¼, engraved by R. Parr, after P.Monamy & F.Swaine.
Thomas Whitcombe. Dates: 1752? ---- 1824
Seldom can an art world myth have been less shattered. My experiences since 1981 have convinced me that truth is of little interest to the art world, its dealers, connoisseurs, collectors and historians. In 1997, 16 years after the appearance of the above news item in Guernsey on 10 September 1981, a well-known expert on marine painting can still write "Peter Monamy, who was born in Jersey but moved to London while still a young man". Why, I wonder, did I spend all those hours checking baptismal records, and meticulously combing through archival sources to establish the facts? The National Maritime Museum has been aware that Monamy was born in London, since 1980.
the bowsprit angle
chronology & authenticity
monamy website index
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