From the Monamy/Walker conversation piece c 1730


The preoccupation with moonlight in eighteenth and nineteenth century English painting appears to originate with Monamy. There was great contemporary interest in celestial dynamics, sparked off by the published works of Newton.

Jean-Theophilus Desaguliers, a major figure among the founders of English 18th century Freemasonry, who escaped from France to Guernsey as an infant in 1685, hidden in a barrel by his father, gave public lectures on these and other scientific topics in Westminster from about 1715 onwards. The moon's motion was of particular interest to mariners, from hopes that problems of navigation would be solved.

These pages are organized under (1) oils by Monamy, (2) prints after his paintings, (3) later moonlight prints after other painters, and (4) subsequent exponents of the motif. Monamy's interest in this theme seems to have been awakened sometime before about 1729, as suggested by the conversation piece and the painting dated 1730.

It is notable that not a single moonlight painting is known by van de Velde, father, son or grandson. The Getty Provenance Database records 18 moonlight scenes attributed to Monamy, up for auction at sales held between 1756 and 1840.

signed and dated 1728. 18 x 31.

monamy oil, signed, 18 x 30: see here for comment on this painting

signed and dated 1730

monamy oil, unsigned, 27 x 37½, see also below

monamy oil 17½ x 32½   a moonlight sonata in black

central detail of the above painting in lighter colour reproduction

same again: varied colour

same as oil 27 x 37½, above, in slightly truer colour

one (a): more moonlight oils
two: moonlight prints after monamy
three: later moonlight prints
four: moonlight by other artists
artistic range 1
monamy website index

© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2001, 2014, 2016, 2017
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