PORT & OTHER
PANORAMAS

Monamy's panoramic views, mainly looking inland from the sea, continue a long-established, native and traditional, style of port representation, as practised by Isaac Sailmaker, and other English contemporaries such as H.Vale.


Panorama of Portsmouth. Hand-coloured engraving by Kip, or Kyp
Saylmaker del.

     
Panorama of Lisbon. Modern paperback cover
P.Monamy pinx

Horace Walpole scorned to note the existence of Sailmaker, although Vertue mentions him. Walpole's tacit disregard has been followed by later commentators on Sailmaker's contribution to English painting. In his Catalogue of Engravers, Walpole does have a note on Kip, as follows: "John Kip, born at Amsterdam, arrived here not long after the Revolution. He did a great number of plates, and very indifferently, of the palaces and seats in this kingdom. They were first drawn by one Leonard Knyff, his countryman, who also painted fowls, dogs, &c, and dealt in pictures. The latter died in Westminster 1721, aged between 60 and 70, having been many years in England. His pictures, which were not extraordinary, were sold in 1723. Kip engraved an inside view of the Danish church built by Cibber, and died at near 70 years of age, in 1722, in a place called Long-ditch, Westminster. He left a daughter, whom he had brought up to painting."

It is ironic that Walpole, though contorted by a social and aesthetic snobbery which persists to this day, has left so much information about 18th century English art. The deaths of Leonard Knyff and Kip in 1721 and 1722, if Walpole has his facts right (he may not), coincide precisely with the first indications of Monamy's residence in Westminster. Knyff's studio, presumably left empty in 1723, was in Old Palace Yard, an address which prevented Walpole from hinting that he had died in a ditch, like the indifferently gifted engraver, Kip. It is a distinct possibility that Monamy took over Leonard Knyff's residence, or studio, in about 1722/23. Jacob Knyff had died aged 43 in 1681.

The works of John Kip and Leonard Knyff are far from indifferent: in many respects they are quite excellent.

 

GREENWICH


View of Greenwich: auctioned at Sotheby's, 10th April 1991. 33½ x 59

Greenwich. Left section of print published March 26 1739. Saml & Nathl Buck delin. et Sculp.

The above print is reproduced in Ralph Hyde's comprehensive publication A Prospect of Britain: the Town Panoramas of Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, Pavilion Books, 1994, no 28. On page 31 there is a reproduction of Monamy's painting for comparison. In his detailed and most informative notes on the prints, Hyde remarks of the Greenwich panorama that "there is a pen and wash drawing for the engraving, squared in pencil for copying, in the Bodleian Library". He also comments on the auction of the large oil painting, "signed by Peter Monamy, in which the topography and shipping closely resemble that in the Buck image. As a successful marine artist it seems improbable that Monamy would have copied the shipping for his painting from an engraving by another artist, and more likely that he was hired by the Bucks to supply the shipping for their image". Inspection of the drawing might resolve this interesting point. From the comparison of the details below, however, I fear that the painting, a less cluttered image, follows the print, and not vice versa. It seems doubtful whether the Bucks would claim to have "delin. et Sculp." the print without further acknowledgement, or that Monamy, scrupulously credited on other contemporary prints, would have allowed his participation to go unrecorded.


Details of Buck print and Monamy oil painting. For the ship, left, see here.

      CONSTANTINOPLE      


an exceptionally wide panorama: 27 x 85.


These sections from the view of Constantinople, above, suggest to me that it was meant to be seen at close quarters. Lack of provenance for many of Monamy's paintings is a major stumbling-block. Who would have commissioned a magnificent panorama of this kind? Where would it have been on view? Why?

The following panoramas, in my view, precede the above paintings, which I would date to the decade between about 1728 and 1738. Until the picture of Gibraltar, about 1728 (?), they are battle-plans of naval engagements, rather than views or scenes, painted for Lord Torrington to relive, and demonstrate, his strategic triumphs. With the portrayal of Gibraltar there is a greater sense of realism, and I would place the Lisbon, Greenwich and Constantinople pictures after this date. The late battle panoramas, Porto Bello and Louisburg, revert to being designed more to illustrate tactics than anything else.

      Relief of Barcelona 1706: signed & dated 1725      

      Bombardment of Alicante 1706: probably painted 1725      

      Blockade of Dunkirk 1708: probably painted 1726      

      Rock of Gibraltar: possibly painted 1727/28      

      Lisbon      


51½ x 70. Said to be signed and dated 1735. See Cockett, p.52

There must be several engravings of Lisbon on which Monamy could have based this panorama. It seems unlikely that the view below is one of them, however, since it is taken from a viewpoint very much further to the right than Monamy's painting. The large building with the bluish roof in the coloured print, well to the right in Monamy's picture, below the steep hill, has shifted to just right of centre in the print, which was in any case published two years after his death. The city also seems to have grown considerably in what might be the fifteen years separating the two depictions. Portugal is often stated to be Britain's oldest trading partner. It is hoped that the traffic was not entirely in slaves.


Publish'd according to Act of Parliament April ye10. 1751
A General View of the CITY of LISBONE the Capital of the Kingdom of Portugal
Vue Generale du LISBONE, VILLE Capitale du Royaume de Portugale


An earlier print view of Lisbon. From The Slave Trade, by Hugh Thomas.

Zoom in on Lisbon

      Porto Bello 1739      

      Louisburg 1745      

      Elizabeth Castle, off St.Helier, Jersey      


24 x 36. Signed. Conjectural date circa 1735?

      Castle Cornet, off St.Peter Port, Guernsey      


27 x 43. Signed. Bonhams, 16 September 2008. Conjectural date circa 1735?
I think it must be later: 1742-47, at a guess, by Brooking, though signed by Monamy.

panoramagnus
panorama sources
focus on lisbon again

monamy website index
artistic range
top

© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2001, 2003, 2013
all rights reserved