à bout de souffle


odds and ends accumulated from other end-of-my-tether pages
this page is a mistake: its burden is misplaced
but I've started, so I'll carry on

Prime Source of Monamy's Vauxhall Porto Bello ?

[This perspective view was not published until July 8, 1740: and the Daily Post reported a painting of Porto Bello on display by 20th May]

drawn on the Spot with great exactness

A Rare Print

The only place presently known to me where a reproduction of this illuminating print can be found is in John Masefield's On the Spanish Main, Methuen; a small printing of about 1600 copies published in 1906. It does not appear in the 1972 edition, published in America. It may be in the second British edition published 1922. But it isn't. However: Eureka! Eureka!

It is perfectly apparent to me that Monamy's Vauxhall painting derives directly from this sketch, drawn with great exactness on the Spot, and that he would have seen it, perhaps in the form of half a dozen original paper sheets, before it was engraved by E.Bowen.

Guns in the Gardens, p 86, presents an ingenious account of how the painting "compresses the temporal scope of the action", with "the shore filled with structures that lead the eye back to the Iron Castle". It seems far more natural simply to assume that Monamy was drawing on an experience of theatrical scene-painting, as also practised by his contemporaries, Francis Hayman, George Lambert and Jack LaGuerre. It is not at all unlikely that Monamy spent some time producing scenic backdrops for Winstanley's widow's Mathematical Water Theatre between the years 1709-1715. De Loutherbourg links Monamy with Turner.


Emanuel Bowen: A New Chart of the Vast Atlantic Ocean Exhibiting the Seat of War, both in Europe and America likewise the Trade Winds. London Magazine, London:, 1740. Presumably followed by A Sequel of the Seat of War in the West Indies containing (1): a Map of the Isthmus of Panama exhibiting the Roads with the Course of the River Châgre thro the same (2) Curious Perspective Views of the Harbour, Town and Castles of Puerto Bello, as sent over by Commodore Brown (3) the Appearance at Sea of San Juan de Puerto Rico with it's Castles / from Admiral Vernon's own draught, the whole illustrated with remarks.

Here it is ! Voilá!

Click for Bibliothèque nationale de France

Published pursuant to Act of Parliament July 8th 1740 by E.Bowen & Sold by Geo Foster at ye White Horse in St Pauls Church Yard London

Geo. Foster also had a hand in the publication of Fred Shantoon's print, May 3, 1740, of the taking of Porto Bello.
For Emanuel Bowen, 1694-1767, see Wikipedia.

For more on map sources, see here.

The McDonald "Monamy", so-called


click for ringers


At left, a painting which appeared 3½ years (not so very long) after the "McDonald" Monamy was auctioned. Click on it, for a comparison with similar compositions. They multiply like rabbits, but really have very little to do with Monamy. The sure guide to his painting range is found in the contemporary prints after his pictures. Here they are. Not what you might expect, judging by the offerings of dealers and auctioneers. There are about a dozen others, still hanging in their original locations.

Meanwhile, a few thoughts on the two appearances, above, of the "McDonald" painting. While it's not at all unusual for signatures to come and go, especially on pictures that repeatedly wander through the sale-rooms, dimensional shape-shifting is relatively rare, and in this case, with centimetres endorsing inches, really rather weird. The signature, unrecorded in 1970 and 1992, didn't arrive until Mr Cockett's masterly publication in 2000.

After reading a chapter of my ms on Monamy, 2011, someone said I sounded grumpy. After reading this AHRB billet-doux, someone else told me he was appalled. Did Galileo feel appalled by the Vatican, or was he merely grumpy for his last nine years?


Arts & Humanities Research Board

No doubt the great Nabokov knew the works of Edmund Burke: "Mr Locke very justly and finely observes of wit, that it is chiefly conversant in tracing resemblances; he remarks at the same time that the business of judgement is rather in finding differences." On Taste: the introduction to Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, 1824 edition.

"The truth ... is that to the dilettante the thing is the end, while to the professional as such it is the means; and only he who is directly interested in a thing, and occupies himself with it from love of it, will pursue it with entire seriousness. It is from such as these, and not from wage-earners, that the greatest things have always come."

Arthur Schopenhauer, 1851

The Man of Taste
Fakes etc.

1733. James Bramston, 1694 - 1744.

One gets more real truth out of one avowed partisan than out of a dozen of your sham impartialists
simpering honesty as they suppress documents.

Robert Louis Stevenson, 1871

Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

Friedrich Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orléans, III, 6; Talbot, 1801

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

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fugitive notes
monamy website index

© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2013
all rights reserved


Peripheral Reading Matter

Tolstoy, Leo
Read, Herbert
Panofsky, Erwin
Diffey, T.J.
Danto, Arthur C.
Huhn, Tom
Carey, John
Costello & Willsdon
Gracyk, Theodore
What is Art?
The Meaning of Art
Meaning in the Visual Arts
The Republic of Art, etc
After the End of Art
Imitation and Society
What Good are the Arts?
The Life & Death of Images
The Philosophy of Art
V. Interesting
Gas, in spades
Pellucid: read pronto
Straight. Readable.

Here's a Conundrum dating from 1890

"Each man talked of the aims of Art, and each in an alien tongue"

"Just don't ask me anything about Art". Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, circa 1954-55
in conversation with Lisa af Petersens

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