Locke condensed by the Redgraves.

"It is dangerous to be right when established authority is wrong". Voltaire

"In an age when knowledge is a mark of elitism, ignorance is power." Edward Luce, quoted by Jon Sopel.

"Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals." George Orwell, first published in the TLS, 1972

Conversations: Yet Another Look

This page is occasioned by a recent (2017) substantial publication entitled The Conversation Piece.
The Monamy/Walker paintings are mentioned briefly. Both are attributed to Gawen Hamilton.

A. Knowsley Hall, 24 x 20, Easel painting signed Monamy / B. Chicago Art Institute, 23 x 20 [61.6 x 53.3 cms]
reports of the dimensions vary slightly

The Getty Provenance Database records the sale of a painting attributed to Monamy, described as "The Artist exhibiting a Picture". The buyer was unknown, but the price quoted was 1.17. The sale took place in Liverpool on April 12th, 1810, and the auction-house was Winstanley. Looking at the above two paintings it seems to me likely that the version at right is the one in question. Although the paintings are obviously very closely related, it appears to me inconceivable that both are by the same artist. The left-hand piece is credible as a joint work by Gawen Hamilton and Peter Monamy; who the right hand piece is by is open to speculation.

Is it likely that the pair of two faces, at left, are the work of the same artist ?

The gentleman inspecting Monamy's easel painting is identified as Mr Thomas Walker. Comment on either, or both, of these paintings occasionally describes Mr Thomas Walker as "Monamy's patron". Since a patron in this context can be defined as "a wealthy or influential supporter of an artist" it is unlikely that Thomas Walker can be thought to be Monamy's patron, at least after the watershed year 1733. A study by Richard Morris establishes that Walker's large collection, at his death, contained only one painting by a British artist, and it was not by Monamy.

Little by little we begin to detect the greasy pole of politics. And this contamination has distorted British art history wholesale ever since.

Is it possible that Walker may have considered patronage of Monamy in about 1730-32, but abruptly abandoned the idea in 1733 ?

The rise and slow decline of Peter Monamy can be intimately linked to the political climate during the years of his life and work. There can be little doubt that Monamy can be counted among Robert Walpole's opponents.

An excerpt from:


Gawen Hamilton

The London Gazetteer, 9 February 1749

mr thomas walker
page one         page two         page three         page four
the two conversation pieces
another conversation piece

the excise crisis
more on vauxhall gardens
title page     introduction     background
article 1981     article 1983
monamy website index

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2018
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Getty Provenance Database