Beware the labels attached to old oil paintings!
Attributed to Monamy; said to be the Capture of Porto Bello. I thought it might conceivably represent Louisbourg, 1758.
Now, courtesy Roger Quarm, NMM, to whom many thanks, the occasion appears to be identified.

Described as the Capture of Port Louis, Cuba, 8 March 1748. Attributed to Paton.
further discussion below

Louisbourg 1758

from Nova Scotia, by C.P. de Volpi

from Naval Prints, by Frank T.Sabin, 1934-5.

Above is a very well-known print of the Capture of Louisbourg, 1758, which appears repeatedly in accounts of this event. The area within the box seems to me only very vaguely reminiscent of the previous image. The trouble is that none of these artists had visited the actual scene, and their depictions therefore owe much to imagination.

For drawing my attention to the print by Paton, and especially for the item below, I am greatly indebted to Dianne O'Neill, Curator, Historical Prints and Drawings, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The excerpt below, from Young of Formosa, 1927, by Sir George Young, is mentioned in an article by Jim Mockford, entitled Before Lewis and Clark, Lt. Broughton's River of Names: The Columbia River Exploration of 1792, which appeared in the Oregon Historical Quarterly 106.4 (2005): see here. Young of Formosa is of exceptional interest in naming "Old Swaine", ie Francis Swaine, as a pupil of Monamy. This comment was made by Admiral George Young, 1733-1821, who clearly knew Swaine personally, since he provided him with a sketch of the taking of Louisbourg, 1758, on which the painting was based.

"Ah, Voilà ma pauvre Prudente!"
see here.

Below is what, at first sight, might appear to be the painting that hung in the dining-room of Sir George Young in 1927.

Signed Swaine; 29½ x 24½; at one time with Messrs John Mitchell, London. Image, and inserted text, from Witt Library.

Thanks to the generous help and interest of John Mitchell Fine Paintings, Bond Street, London, a better image casts considerable doubt on the identification of the subject of this painting as the Capture of Louisbourg, 1758. See below.

Signed Swaine; 29¾ x 24¾; image courtesy of Messrs John Mitchell, London (archives from 1955).

Sir George Young did not feel inclined to buy the Paton print, circa 1925.
residual doubt about the Swaine painting: lacks "the two long lines of boats"

See here: could the above be by Paton ?
no action is indicated, and it seems to be more in monamy's traditional "burning ship" vein

The Reduction of Port Louis, Cuba, or Hispaniola, 1748: two versions for comparison
closely similar in composition, with every ship disposition changed

Louisbourg 1745
Porto Bello
The Public House Signboard
Admiral Vernon and Sir Robert Walpole
battle pages
monamy website index

Offered at Auction

A seascape came up at auction recently (2007). Although obviously dating from its manner to about 1840-1860, it was labelled, on the frame, Peter Monamy, English, 1670-1749.

However, it turned out to be signed P.Monami, a Belgian artist whose dates are 1814-1857.


© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2007
all rights reserved