10½ x 16. Allegedly by van de Velde the Younger, July-August 1699
But is it ? Why could this not be Monamy's original, inaccurate drawing ?

I am still looking for a truly convincing example of Monamy's alleged "copying" of van de Velde's oil paintings. Among the up to about 500 Monamy paintings I am aware of, there are perhaps two or three candidates. However, there is some evidence for his cannibalisation of van de Velde's drawings, along with drawings by other painters, as well as prints, and shipwright drafts, battle-plans and sketches by serving naval officers. The loosely, even rather imperfectly, not to say inaccurately, drawn sketch, allegedly by van de Velde, of the Winstanley tower, as it was in July-August 1699, is an example. Initial impressions point to the likelihood that this sketch came or was put into Monamy's hands (in about 1710? Earlier?), and that he drew from it what he wanted for his paintings of the Eddystone towers. The provenance and circumstances of their presumed commissioning awaits further investigation. I am starting to query the supposed authorship of the drawing as by van de Velde.


Compositions & Dates

The pictures are displayed below in the order in which I believe them to have been painted; and I will hazard dates of 1711 for M1, 1716 for M2, and 1726 for M3. Give or take a couple of years.

The re-cycling and re-arrangements of the shipping are so obvious, that they are scarcely worth commenting on. However, by presenting the pictures in the manner above, it does seem to me that the sequence of their composition is reasonably plain. In the third painting, as suggested elsewhere, it seems to me that the interest centres less on the composition and draughtsmanship than on the light effect, which is unfortunately not at all apparent in the black and white image.

If my estimate of the date of about 1711 for M1 is anywhere near correct, then it would have been produced at approximately the same time as the ship portrait of the third rate warship, thought to be the Monmouth. My belief is that these two paintings do indeed exhibit certain stylistic similarities. The resemblance is nothing to do with the draughtsmanship, or composition, but in the application of the paint, which is very difficult to demonstrate in images several removes from the originals. Monamy would have used drawings already made by others in both cases, but the manner of his colouring and brushwork would be individual to him. This method of production would also have been quite natural, especially at an early stage of his painting career. It is a matter of indifference that in one case the original drawing would be a sketch by van de Velde, and in the other a formal construction draught by a shipwright. The two pictures are compared below.

winstanley's lighthouse 1: M1
winstanley's lighthouse 1: M3
winstanley's lighthouse 2
rudyerd's lighthouse: M2
smeaton's lighthouse
miscellaneous lighthouses

monamy website index


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