The right half of the above sketch appears to be related to the Signal to Anchor


"Typically pre-Romantic in his conception, Monamy concentrates entirely
on the documentary aspect of this representation."

The above caption was attached to this pen and grey wash drawing, attributed to Monamy, when it appeared in an exhibition obscurely entitled "The Shock of Recognition", shown at the Tate Gallery and the Mauritshuis in Holland, 1970-71. The catalogue comments are interesting:

"Peter Monamy (1690-1749). Monamy was born in Jersey. On an engraving after a portrait of 1731, Monamy is described as 'Painter of Ships and Marine Prospects, second only to Van de Velde'. He painted sea battles, usually on commission with the help of reconstructions and models. Monamy's marines are in the Van de Velde tradition, although it is clear that Monamy is the lesser artist. His lack of personal experience with wind and water is evident from his weak representation of weather conditions as compared to his well drawn ships and figures."

Were it not that these remarks merely parrot the standard received opinion of the 1960s and '70s, they might be considered quite stunningly idiotic. Nonetheless, it is very hard to understand how they could be linked to a drawing which demonstrates its author's full command of the "representation of weather conditions" at sea. The catalogue note perpetrates five or six outright errors, not all of which are forgiveable.

But what is this? An imposition or a superimposition?

It could be related to a mezzotint after J.M.W.Turner, engraved by Charles Turner,
      exhibit 103, p.62, in the Turner 1775-1851 exhibition catalogue (Butlin)      

"Typically pre-Romantic in his conception, Turner concentrates entirely
on the documentary aspect of this representation."

This mezzotint is related to a painting by Turner entitled Ships bearing up for Anchorage, or The Egremont Sea Piece, 1802, discussed in the Turner catalogue for a joint Tate and Royal Academy exhibition, 1974, p.49. The comments display the usual profound misconception of the origins of English painting, and the early Romantic strain in the English School, caused entirely by the academic art establishment's total neglect of the work of Peter Monamy, by its inability simply to use its eyes, and its general disregard of marine painting, as well as its slavish adherence to the scriptures of Horace Walpole. The exhibition note reads as follows:

"Here (ie in the Egremont Sea Piece) ..... Turner applied the Poussinesque principles of composition first seen in 'The Fifth Plague' to the tradition of marine painting in England, which, based on the work of the van der Veldes in the later seventeenth century, had continued more or less unaltered until the end of the eighteenth. Once again, however, Turner uses the selective fall of light to clarify his design, particularly in the complex of overlapping ships in the centre."

Poussin - Schmoussin. Unaltered tradition of marine painting. Complex of overlapping ships in the centre. Bluntly speaking: garbage, garbage. For the "selective fall of light" see here. Or take in the little show below:

The selective fall of light is emphatically one of the most distinctive features of Monamy's work.
Please take special notice of Monamy's lack of personal experience with wind and water
which is so plainly evident from his weak representation of weather conditions.

a royal occasion


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