"Morning or Sun Rising"

The painting on the left wall of the room above is unsigned. The colour reproduction of the photograph below, of the same painting, is poor, but it can be seen that the label reads Outward Bound   P.Monamy. The phrase "Outward Bound" may have had its day, and no longer stirs the blood. Perhaps it was only ever magic to the vulgar, alert at sunrise when the connoisseurs and gentlemen of England were still abed. These images are chocolate-box, and not to be compared with the high art of the van de Veldes. In fact, they are utterly un-Dutch, original to Monamy, and express the dubious taste of English sentimentality, which is absent from inward-looking Dutch art..

The picture is clearly related to one of the set of prints published in 1745/6 by John Bowles, and an example is shown below, in reverse for easier comparison. This is a very late work, in my view, perhaps painted only three or four years before the painter's death; and the other samples are probably even later variations on the composition of the original painting, engraved by P.C.Canot.

Morning or Sun rising       Matin, ou Soleil levant
P.Monamy pinxt     Publish'd according to Act of Parliament 21 Febry. 1745-6     Canot sculp.
From a Painting in the Collection of Baptist May Esqr.
Printed for John Bowles (---) at the Black Horse in Cornhil

print as published

The popularity of this theme lasted for 150 years after Monamy's death, and perhaps has never died. A variety of combinations is shown below. Swaine's later variation on the print is also shown.

30 x 44½     signed P.Monamy Pinx.

A Christie's catalogue note for this painting, up for auction on 21st May 2003, says: "The flagship joining the fleet at its anchorage at sunset, probably the Medway". This composition has been known as Morning, Sun Rising since 1745. If this is the Medway, then it isn't sunset. If this is sunset, then it isn't the Medway. This ship is outward bound, heading East on the dawn tide, and bidding farewell to Gravesend, which was "a right name as every body of Sailors knows," as Ramblin' Jack Cremer once remarked. If this is by Monamy, then in my opinion it is one of his very last paintings, and he has set his face towards the rising sun.

37½ x 51½     Bonham     6th Dec 1973, lot 119

recently auctioned     "circle of peter monamy"

25 x 30     "follower of peter monamy"

small print after swaine

small oil painting sold as "monamy": sense reversed

comparison: swaine print reversed

prints: times of day
sunlight: sunrise       sunlight: sunset
monamy website index

Westward Ho! Sun setting. Film still from Mutiny on the Bounty, 1962


© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2001, 2003, 2013
all rights reserved