21 x 43. Signed. Datable to circa 1728. NMM. Presented by Eric Miller through The Art Fund. BHC1010
About as authentic an unprovenanced painting by Monamy as might be found.

"Monamy, a self-taught artist, was influenced by van de Velde the Younger, and may have worked in his studio."
A truly grotesque assertion. God, give me strength.

à bout de souffle

Page Thirteen

Who is giving who a piggy-back?

Below is a grey wash (the medium includes graphite), described as "A flagship and vessels becalmed (near a wharf)".

NMM. PAF 5758. Attributed ----- wait for it ! ----- to Samuel Scott.

Sitrep: 23 February 2012. Search the current NMM website for works attributed to Samuel Scott, and 88 items will come up. Contemporary art research is immeasurably facilitated by the internet, and offers resources previous researchers could not even dream of. It is not fair to criticise pioneers for their mistakes or other failings, but sometimes the amusement they provide is not to be suppressed.

Eighteen of these 88 NMM items are currently blank, waiting to be filled. Twenty-eight are oil paintings, prints or otherwise irrelevant in the search for drawings. About four of the drawings are undeniably by Scott. The remaing 38 drawings appear, most probably and predominantly, to be by Peter Monamy. At left is a perfect example.

The website notes, with reference to another drawing, PAF 5735, that: "This work is one of thirty-three drawings by Samuel Scott acquired for the Museum as part of the Macpherson Collection by Sir James Caird in 1932. They probably date from the 1720s and 1730s when the influence of Van de Velde the Younger is very noticeable in Scott's work. At least one of the drawings is a preliminary drawing for a known work. A number of the drawings, such as this one, are drawn in chalk on blue paper, while others are drawn in pen and ink, graphite, and wash on various coloured papers." See below, right, for the drawing in question, PAF 5735.

Below left is PAF 5750, evidently the "preliminary drawing for a known work", plus the well-known work in question.

click for Scott's timberbark
But can drawing PAF 5753, below, really be ascribed to Scott?

PAF 5753

It is highly likely that the sale of Monamy's studio effects on July 27th, 1750, enticingly advertised by the auctioneer as containing drawings by the van de Veldes, caused wee Sammy to scoot down to Westminster to see what he could scavenge. Much of what he might have picked up must have been by Monamy; eg samples at right. These don't at all look like Scott's.

In 1707 Scott was five years old. Nevertheless, see here, it is claimed that:

PAF 5735

PAF 5747

PAF 5749

PAF 5766

Oops !

One Walpole is just as good as another

On August 24th, 1824, Lord Liverpool, the longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in a letter to John Wilson Croker, remarked that "I believe Horace Walpole to have been as bad a man as ever lived; I cannot call him a violent party man, he had not virtue enough ......" Croker, who was then Secretary to the Admiralty, replied "I entirely agree in your lordship's opinion ….. there never lived a more calumnious writer", and added he had felt it necessary, in The Quarterly Review, April 1822, "to sift his truth from his malevolence", so that Walpole might not "poison the minds of posterity".

A decade later, in an essay in the Edinburgh Review, 1833, Lord Macaulay followed up this verdict with: " .... as the pâté-de-foie-gras owes its excellence to the diseases of the wretched animal which furnishes it, and would be good for nothing if it were not made of livers preternaturally swollen, so none but an unhealthy and disorganised mind could have produced such literary luxuries as the works of Walpole."

"The very character of bureaucratic administration automatically screens out all those who are capable of doing any other sort of work. ..... An administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big by merging his nonentity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him."

Marshall McLuhan, June 22 1951

"Scholars belong to guilds held together by common opinions, attitudes, and methods. As a rule, innovation is welcome only when it is confined to surface details and does not modify the structure as a whole."

Cyrus H.Gordon, 1982

next page
here's a funny thing: page fourteen
last page

to be continued

All truth passes through three stages. 1) It is ridiculed. 2) It is violently opposed. 3) It is accepted as self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer

chronology & authenticity
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