à bout de souffle

Page Twenty-Seven
Woodcock born 1690, Scott born 1702, Brooking born 1723
three dedicated followers of van de Velde
[unlike Peter Monamy born 1681]

S.Scott pinxt       Publishd Jan 1, 1803, by LAURIE & WHITTLE No 53 Fleet Strt. London       Morris Sculp

Hand-coloured engraving: reversed.

11½ x 15. A Calm by Samuel Scott. Oil on panel. Collection: Plymouth City Council: Museum and Art Gallery
Presumed unsigned. Attribution presumably based on Laurie & Whittle's 1803 print inscription.

15 x 19. Attributed to Charles Brooking. National Trust, Saltram.

19 x 29. The Salute Shot . Attributed to Willem van de Velde the Younger; inscribed 'W.Diest' (lower left); oil on canvas

Walpoles: a verdict on Horace: In an essay in the Edinburgh Review, 1833, Lord Macaulay unleashed a blistering attack, as the hacks have it, on the 4th Lord Orford: " .... as the pt-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."

But who reads Macaulay today? Tom is far too enjoyably cocksure for this age of mediocrity. "He is always in a storm of revolt and indignation against wrong, craft, tyranny. How he cheers heroic resistance; how he backs and applauds freedom struggling for its own; how he hates scoundrels, ever so victorious and successful; how he recognizes genius, though selfish villains possess it!" Thackeray chips in with his tuppence-worth on Tom Macaulay.

On August 24th, 1824, Lord Liverpool, the longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in a letter to John Wilson Croker, was more forthright, remarking 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".

Is it not sad that Horace has been deified by The Walpole Society, as well as by the Lewis-Walpole Library ? Tragic, if you ask me --- which you don't. Horace considered Scott to be very nearly, but not quite, as good as van de Velde. He pointed out that Scott sometimes introduced buildings into his seascapes. Some of us believe that Scott quite often introduced placid water into his townscapes.

Ascribed to Leemans --- main vessel looks remarkably familiar.
Strange to say, Leemans appears to have no existence outside one oil painting allegedly bearing his name.
He was totally, utterly and completely, unknown before about 1980.

Some paintings by Scott. "A painter of the town."

September 2013. The NMM has this to say about Scott: "..... belonged to the first generation of British marine painters, who worked in the tradition of the van de Veldes and the other Dutch artists who came to practice in London from the 1670s. His reputation chiefly rests on his topographical views of London but he was a very good marine painter .... whose artistic and social skills eclipsed .... those of his slightly earlier contemporary Peter Monamy". Scott, unlike Monamy, was not a painter: he was a fully-fledged artist, or artiste. Although Scott was an artist, however, he cannot honestly be said to have "eclipsed" anybody --- certainly not as a marine painter.

Isaac Sailmaker was a Dutch painter who came to England in about 1650, pre-dating the van de Veldes by 20 years. You could say, if you felt bloody-minded, that Monamy worked in the Sailmaker tradition, chronologically speaking. Monamy was actually old enough to have been Scott's father. The 61 paintings attributed to Scott on the BBC Your Paintings site consist of 18 marines, and 43 townscapes and riverscapes.

Daylight & Moonlight, by Peter Monamy

September 2013. In connection with painting BHC1013, 8¼ x 11¼, above left, now in the NMM, one of its nameless curators has this to say: "This small coastal scene shows the artist's use of simple composition as well as colouring to create a serene and poetic mood. .... The strong draw of perspective towards the horizon on the left is created by the coastline's flattened diagonal, and by the spatial recession of sailing ships into the misty background in line with the yacht." Unfortunately, the luxurious literary connoisseurship of these comments has already been vitiated by the preceding mantra: "Monamy was self-taught, but may have worked in van de Velde's studio in Greenwich." Also: "his work is representative of the early British school of maritime art, which still shows the overwhelming influence of the Dutch style".

Monamy, of course, was not an artist, but a painter. The van de Velde studio in Greenwich became defunct when Monamy was eight years old. BHC1013, although it undeniably depicts a ship in a calm off a coast, shows little influence of the "Dutch" style, but has a lot in common with the paintings of J.M.W.Turner. The moonlight painting, above right, comes from Monamy and Hamilton's conversation piece, circa 1731-33. BHC1013 has been squashed a bit in order to fit into the same frame.

to be continued: perhaps; since woodcock and brooking haven't yet received the full treatment

Sighs of Despair
à bout de souffle 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,
20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

"Yesterday Evening was buried at St.Margaret's Westminster, Mr.Peter Monamy, greatly eminent for his Skill in Painting Sea Pieces; in which Art, as he was not equall'd by any of his Contemporaries, neither was he excell'd by many of the Ancients; but his Name and Character are too well known and establish'd among the Curious to need any artful Commendation to set them in greater Light to advance his Merit; neither can the warmest Praise add to his Fame when dead, who, in his Life, was the greatest enemy to Adulation; and tho' some Notice is due to the Memory of so celebrated an Artist in Painting, yet his own Performances, which are extant in the World, will prove his most lasting Monument."

from The London Gazetteer, 9th February 1749

This news item, courtesy Mr Robert Cottrell, was not discovered until February 2015

next page
last page

addenda: porto bello; mcdonald "monamy"; man of taste

the monamy family: C16 & C17

monamy website index

© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2013
all rights reserved

Peer review makes publication susceptible to control by elites and to personal jealousy.