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detail from the livery painting
                        PAINTER'S HALL

"Through the centuries the Company has included many distinguished artists including Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Godfrey Kneller, Sir Peter Lely, Sir James Thornhill, William Dobson, Peter Monamy, Lord Leighton, Sir John Millais, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Sir Alfred Munnings, Sir Thomas Monnington, Sir Gerald Kelly, Sir Charles Wheeler, Sir Hugh Casson and Sir Roger de Grey."

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The Court Minutes of the Painter-Stainers' Company record: "At a Court held on 23 November 1726. Ordered that Mr Peter Monamy be admitted upon the livery in consideration of his having presented the Company with a valuable sea peice of his own painting and that the Master return Mr Monamy the thanks of this Court and that Mr Monamy be discharged paying his livery fine and all fees relating thereto".

The evidence for Monamy's close identification and association with the aims and spirit of the Painter Stainers' Company, as apprentice, freeman and liveryman, from 1696 to 1726 could not be more convincingly demonstrated than by the presence of this painting, now hanging at Painters' Hall since 1726.

                 

Unsigned. 7ft x 5ft


New Painters' Hall Exterior
9 Little Trinity Lane
         

"A large sea peice painted by him & presented to the Painters Company London ano 1726", says George Vertue, in satisfying confirmation of the Court Minutes. This is probably the largest canvas Monamy painted. In common with several of the other well-authenticated pieces that survive in their original locations, there are certain peculiarities to note about it. Like three of the five battle-plans painted for Lord Torrington, c 1725, it is unsigned. In its total effect, it is not a work which appears to attempt accurate realism, in any sense recognizable in, eg, the work of the Dutch.

Rather, it seems to be a tribute to his early training as a painter-stainer, and probably represents a late 17th century and early 18th century local decorative style which has now completely vanished from the interior walls of the London bourgeoisie. Its functional purpose as mood-creating decoration is well displayed in its present position in the Company's Livery Hall.

The lack of a signature seems significant. This is not easel art, for which the painter takes personal credit, but the production of a team of craftsmen. In my 1981 article I suggested that one or two apprentice hands would have worked on it together, but I have as little hard evidence for these shady assistants as Michael Robinson had for the van de Velde workers on their shop floor.

As the picture looks a little dark, the details below are photographed in stronger light.


PAINTER-STAINERS' HALL TWO
the panel painting

introduction       background
article 1981       article 1983
artistic range 4
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