7 x 10       C.Lempriere delin       W.H.Toms sculpt
Sold by John Boydell engraver in Cheapside

According to Balleine's Biographical Dictionary of Jersey, Clement Lempriere, 1683-1746, published nine seascapes with warships, engraved by W.H.Toms, in 1738. If this undated print is one of these nine, it casts doubt on my conjectural date of about 1754. However, Boydell may have re-issued the print, it may not be one of the nine mentioned, and there are in any case other engravings after Lempriere posthumously dated 1750-1756. Interest centres on this print's clear relationship to the sketch, below, attributed to Hood, or Whood, and to a lesser or remoter extent on the oil attributed to Monamy.

Boydell's dates are 1719-1804. The DNB says he was apprenticed as an engraver to W.H.Toms in 1740 or 1741. After six years he purchased the rest of his apprenticeship, and became a dealer some time after 1751, following his success with a volume of views of England and Wales. In 1790 he was elected Lord Mayor of London. Lempriere, the 'delineator' of Toms' engraving, should not be confused with Lerpinière, a French engraver mentioned in the DNB article. Toms is said to have been active 1723-1758, died 1765. Perhaps Boydell acquired his plates.

    The Dismasted Ship

The print, above, by Toms after Lempriere was a start. I conjecture a date for it of about 1754, when Boydell stopped engraving and started selling. On finding this pen and wash sketch, left, in Masters of the Sea, by Quarm and Wilcox, 1987, it seemed useful to display the dismasted theme in the sequence below.

The catalogue notes doubtfully ascribe the sketch to John Hood, fl 1762-1771, and title it The English Ship Liverpool, 28 guns, c 1750, with measurements 13¾ x 8¾, National Maritime Museum.

All these oils, prints, and sketches appear to me to be related, some closely, others much more distantly, and their similarities and differences seem of interest.

Attributed to Peter Monamy: unsigned.

There are numerous variations of sea, sky, sails, masts, flags and background shipping in the three images above, but in my view the derivational relationships are sufficiently clear for them to be ordered in the sequence A, B, C. The oil painting, A, is presented in reverse, as the printed engraving, B, would reverse the drawing by Lempriere. The sketch, C, attributed to John Hood would then follow the print. The sea and sky in B and C are particularly similar.

Pieter Mulier the Elder 1615-1670

Michiel Maddersteg 1659-1709

Van de Velde the Younger, 29½ x 37¼, signed, dated Londe. 1673
National Gallery, London. See Robinson Vol II, pp.1023 & 1150

Kirkall after Monamy

Francis Swaine, oil on copper, 5 x 7, signed

Charles Brooking, attributed, 17½ x 28, unsigned, Joel pp 142-143

Charles Brooking, 10½ x 14½, signed, Joel p.61

Undismasted. Origins unknown.

F. Swaine Delin. Parr Sc. London Printed for & Sold by C.Dicey and Co. in Aldermary Church Yard.


Left: from the top: 1. mezzotint by Kirkall, after Monamy, c. 1736/37; 2. Brooking, signed, as above; 3. Swaine, oil on copper, 5¾ x 7¾, signed, Christie's, 19/11/1982, lot 51; 4. Unsigned, attributed to Brooking, 17½ x 28, Christie's 21/12/1967, lot 153, see Joel pp 142-143. Sizes, sail and background details vary greatly, but the compositions are very similar.

Robinson records 4 drawings linked to the van de Velde oil, three of which he dates to about 1700. These will have to be chased up.

Below: the van de Velde oil.

a fellow follower of other followers

an undismasted ship in distress, with a second, by van de velde the younger
"black chalk, pen & wash; 6 x 7½ inches"

Drawing from Masters of Maritime Art, 1937. Sample of text below.

In about 1937 the worship of van de Velde, and concomitant denigration of Monamy, was clearly at its peak. Professor Geoffrey Callender's visual perceptions are displayed to maximum effect in the above excerpt from his introduction to a loan exhibition of marine drawings, mounted by Colnaghi & Co. The paragraph has been deliberately selected to show how slavishly this Professor, MA and FSA (honours easily acquired), and Director of the National Maritime Museum (art experience not required), follows hearsay, and fails to use his eyes. The text begs for correction.

Some remarks by Roger de Piles

Monamy, born 1681, made free use of prints and drawings by dozens of different artists, including Bakhuysen. Scott was probably born in 1702. Hogarth was in just as close touch with Monamy as with Scott, probably more so, in his early years. Scott learnt nothing from Hogarth, nor was he naturally a marine painter, but a topographical artist, strongly influenced by Canaletto, and the tasty guineas of his noble patrons. Charles Brooking probably started under Monamy's tuition, and took to closer following of van de Velde in about 1745. Francis Swaine was Monamy's son-in-law, and shows little influence of van de Velde, but plenty of Monamy. In about 1820, or earlier, he was described as "Old Swaine, pupil of Monami", by a naval officer who had known him personally. Few later marine painters show great influence of the van de Veldes, and that includes the Cleveleys. General truths are not to be deduced from particular instances.

Heigh Ho
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