the carriage door panel



Henry Symons Sale, New York, February 1st 1923

Carved and gilt overmantel mirror: three-panel mirror at base in deep-carved frame, with flaring scroll carved sides. Upper panel inset painted canvas by Peter Monamy. 48 x 54. English Man-o-War hove to, having drawn up to a provision ship. Unsigned.

Described as view of Sheerness. Signed P.Monamy

Victoria & Albert Museum. Attributed; unsigned. If Monamy, then very early.

See here for mirror attributed to Francis Swaine.



The tall thin performances above are both attributed to Monamy. The left one looks much more probable, but if the one on the right is authentic, then the naked new-born babe, striding the blast, is unique. Had the second-rater been attending the Kneller Academy?

Kneller, or his studio, created the putti, above left, in about 1706, and called them in to help crown the Duke of Marlborough with a laurel wreath. Kneller founded his Great Queen Street Academy of drawing and graphic arts in 1711, the same year that Marlborough was dismissed from office. The Kneller School portrait of the Duke of Berkeley, see here, with its shipping signed Monamy, was produced probably in about 1719. It doesn't seem so inconceivable that the ex-apprentice had decided to pick up a few more tricks of the trade from the phiz-monger, just before moving to Westminster.

Monamy's academic artistry in depicting celestial trumpeters, as is widely acknowledged, naturally led to his profound impact on William Blake, the famous late 18th century English ex-apprentice and decorative book engraver.

Sadly, poor Blake died in needy circumstances, decayed, infirm, and in dire poverty as well, as most of his work was exploited by sharks and dealers. His parents had also been indigent. His good friend Mr Linnell helped him a bit, but I don't think he made a carved frame for any of his unmarketable paintings.

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