1749 - 1755
7/2, or possibly 8/2. Burial of Peter Monamy at St Margaret's, Westminster. Longer notice recorded by George Vertue, sums up Monamy's life and work in a paragraph: a virtual obituary. Errors perpetuated for 250 years. An actual obituary appears below:
from The London Gazetteer, February 9th, 1749.
29/6. Mary Monamy marries Francis Swaine at Allhallows, London Wall.
Publication of two engravings: Nottingham takes Mars [Parr after Monamy/Swaine]; and Capture of the Capodonga [Parr after Swaine].
27/1 Baptism of Anna Maria Swaine, daughter of Francis and Mary, at St Dunstan's, Stepney. This date, in accordance with New Style, would actually have been 1751. However, the record states that the infant was one year old at her baptism. The significance of this is obscure.
27/7. Peter Monamy's effects sold at auction.
The following excerpts come from Mid-Georgian London, rightly described by Mr Laurence Worms of Ash Rare Books, as "a marvellous book", published 1964, by Hugh Phillips, FSA. Monamy occurs in the index as "Monnomy", and in the text of the General Advertiser as "Monnamy":
"Peter Monnamy, whose marine paintings are so valuable to-day, died in poverty in a house adjoining Henry VII's Chapel, near Mr Capon's viewpoint for Fig.12." [p.22]
This is William Capon's view, in 1790, not far from where Monamy's house was situated.
The portico, right, with the ascending stairs behind it leads into the House of Lords.
To the extreme left, the end of Westminster Hall can be glimpsed.
The actual position of the viewpoint is shown on the plan below .
The actual site of Monamy's house is described in the sale notice
as "next to King Henry's Chapel", which suggests the area within
the dotted line surrounding the chapel, inside the larger red square.
"The auctioneer, Mr Heath, announces in the 'General Advertiser' of July 26th, 1750:
'By virtue of a distress, tomorrow, the 27th inst. the household furniture, pictures and china of Mr.Peter Monnamy, sea painter, deceased at his late dwelling house, next to King Henry's Chapel in Old Palace Yard. Likewise his collection of prints and drawings, amongst which are many of William Vandervelde, Senior and Junior. The whole collection will be exhibited to view this day to the time of sale. which will begin at 11 o'clock precisely. The whole to be sold in one day.
N.B. ---- The prints, drawings and models, will begin selling at six in the evening.
The house is to let with good vaults opening in the street.'" [p.265] See below.
"Died in poverty" is a lot too strong. It took a full day to auction his possessions, eighteen months after his death, and the house must still have been a residence of some consequence. Monamy may have died in debt, but, strange to say, this is not at all the same thing as dying in poverty. His death was well-timed. Francis Swaine's marriage to Mary Monamy can be seen as opportunistic, but a solid precedent had been set for the apprentice to marry, not to say seduce, the master's daughter, by William Hogarth. The apprentice was not encouraged to be idle. It is irritating that the birth dates of neither Mary nor Francis have yet been confirmed --- although it seems likely that Francis was born in 1725. Ann Monamy had married Thomas Cornwall in 1747.
King Henry VII Chapel
"His late dwelling house, next to King Henry's Chapel in Old Palace Yard."
An earlier view of Old Palace Yard, by Leonard Knyff
Inset: the full drawing
more on Monamy's house: click
27/2 Monamy Swaine, son of Francis and Mary Swaine, baptised at St Dunstan's, Stepney. No further children known of this marriage. After intensive research, I published this fact in 1983. The NMM website in 2003 only notes: "The first documented record of him is at the 1769 exhibition of the Free Society of Artists, in which he is described as 'Mr. Swaine Junior', giving rise to scholarly speculation that he might have been born in the early 1750s." Presumably, since my finding was not "speculative" it was not considered "scholarly". Give us a break.
28 May. Major George Washington, aged 22, at Great Meadows, by the fork on the banks of the Ohio and Allegheny rivers, fires the shots that sparked the Seven Years War.
Above is a vista of St Margaret's Church, Westminster, with the north door of the Abbey on the right. This area would have been witnessed daily by Peter Monamy, and by his grandson, Peter Monamy Cornwall, who went to Westminster School and grew up in Marsham Street, somewhat off to the right of the picture. The facing row of red houses marks the end of the space known as the Broad Sanctuary, and they continue along to the left, going north up what was then King Street, which starts at the extreme left-hand corner in the picture. Fish Yard is directly behind the church, off St Margaret's Street. Behind that, the blue-coloured roof of Westminster Hall is clearly seen. Monamy is described as "deceased at his late dwelling house, next to King Henry's Chapel in Old Palace Yard." His move from Fish Yard may have taken place, at a guess, about 1730. As near as can be calculated, his last dwelling-house would have been the smaller of the red-coloured buildings, abutting the chapel at the east end of the Abbey.
"the household furniture, pictures and china of Mr.Peter Monamy, sea painter, deceased"
Chien-Lung punch-bowl depicting Vauxhall Gardens; on the other side is the Foundling Hospital
Bonham's sale: see Country Life, 30 Dec 2004
See also item 26, here, where the reverse image of the Foundling Hospital is also shown.
The production of the punchbowl is dated to circa 1790.
© Charles Harrison Wallace 2002, 2007, 2015
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