This print, an illustration of John Gay's indelibly popular lines, engraved by Fourdrinier, is introduced here because it is almost certainly the first line engraving to be executed after Monamy's works. It has been known to English sailors for the last 250 years. Together with the other three prints after the paintings displayed in Vauxhall Gardens, it is discussed here.
Gay's lyric first appeared in Poems on Several Occasions, published in 1720. The subscribers included Pope, Prior, Arbuthnot, Martha Blunt and a number of other familiar names. The poem was reprinted several times, and the picture may conjecturally have been inspired by either the 1731 or 1737 editions. As there is some textual variation, a comparison with the print text may aid an estimate of the date of Monamy's painting, which in my opinion must have been a fairly early contribution to the selection on view at Vauxhall Gardens. Laurence Gowing says that "soon after 1740 Monamy contributed four marine subjects", but I feel that he probably supposed that the first four works were introduced at the same time, which I think is unlikely. Perhaps there is some evidence for his statement, unknown to me.
LINE PRINTS ONE: CANOT
In 1745/6 a further ten prints were issued, all engraved by P.C.Canot, it seems to me as a set, with one additional print appearing almost simultaneously, or perhaps very slightly later. It is possible that their appearance at this late stage in Monamy's career is indicative of the painter's declining order book, and his search for an additional source of income. Nevertheless they set a pattern for prints of marine "prospects" for another 100 years. They can be subdivided into the following groups: first, Moonlight, paired with Night and a Ship on Fire; second, Morning, Noon, Afternoon, Evening; third, Calm, Fresh Gale, Storm, Loss of the Victory; finally, Shipwrack. For Moonlight, see also oils on this theme, ditto Night and a Ship on Fire.
moonlight, paired with night and a ship on fire
calm fresh gale storm ship in distress
10 x 15. Monamy/Canot 1745/6. Reversed.
the same print, uncoloured
For the relationship of this, and the moonlight mezzotint print by Kirkall, to the various oils by Monamy on this theme, see Moonlight pages.
The four prints below illustrate the variations in colouring that occur on these prints. At top left is the very popular print of Sweet William's Farewel, engraved by Fourdrinier. The others were engraved by Canot, and the one at top right, the Taking of the San Joseph, is also from the display at Vauxhall Gardens. The colouring appears to be fairly late. Noon (ll), and Storm (lr), were printed by Robert Wilkinson, and published by Bowles and Carver, but no date is provided. These images have been kindly supplied by an internet correspondent.