It is noticeable that Mr Walker's right arm is remarkably short.     Mr Kent's left arm appears more correct, physically.

The Chicago Catalogue
1996

French and British Paintings
from 1600 to 1800
in The Art Institute of Chicago

British entries by Malcolm Warner

The two versions of the Monamy/Walker conversation piece are discussed under the entry headed "Gawen Hamilton" --- perhaps one reason why my searches for it under "Hogarth" failed to discover it for so long. The most surprising lacuna in the cataloguer's account is his failure to mention or discuss the early attribution, apparently made by Horace Walpole himself, in the 1784 inventory for Strawberry Hill. In Warner's commentary he refers solely to the 1842 sale catalogue entry for the initial attribution to Hogarth.


Horace Walpole's inventory of Strawberry Hill, 1784.

Nevertheless, the re-ascription to Hamilton of either or both versions is accepted, force majeure; although Walpole's mis-attribution takes some explaining. A small hint is offered in Hilda Finberg's article Gawen Hamilton, in The Walpole Society, Volume VI, 1918, where she points out (p. 53) that Walpole omitted much information on Hamilton provided by Vertue. "One can only speculate as to the reasons which prompted Walpole to ignore the painter. We do not know whether it was because Vertue considered Hamilton a serious rival to Hogarth, and frequently praised him at Hogarth's expense. All we know is that Walpole was an enthusiastic admirer of Hogarth, while Vertue, though forced sometimes to admit the cleverness of his work, disliked Hogarth intensely ...." Against Walpole's "enthusiastic" admiration of Hogarth must be set his often quoted remark that "as a painter he (Hogarth) had but slender merit".

The Chicago catalogue entry from 1996 appears to be the first confidently published re-attribution of both of the Monamy/Walker pieces, although these revisions seem to have been mooted at least ten years earlier. A number of other points made in the catalogue merit comment. The cataloguer does not appear to have inspected the Knowsley version (K) in the flesh, and hence his opinions on it must be taken with some caution. I haven't seen it either, but I believe I may have had a better photograph to examine.


The two versions of Monamy and Walker.


Monamy's pictures restored. All three are reversed from originals.


The two versions of the easel painting. Both pictures are distorted in this presentation.


Gawen Hamilton

mr thomas walker
page one         page two         page three         page four
the two conversation pieces
conversation one         conversation two
more on vauxhall gardens
title page     introduction     background
article 1981     article 1983
monamy website index
top

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2005
all rights reserved


mail