From A Century of Painters, Vol 1, by Richard & Samuel Redgrave, 1866,
and their salutary epigraph:

January 2017: back to former page.

Monamy Scott Brooking Paton James
Joseph Nickolls ?   John Chapman ?   Thomas Priest ?

The above excerpt from the Redgrave brothers, 1866, is of exceptional interest, for a number of reasons. It is of interest for what it includes, and what it omits, as well as for its astonishing mistake. This kind of mistake is a sad characteristic of the English art historian. A search for Alexander Brooking would be as hopeless as a search for the second son of Francis Swaine, or evidence of his non-existent employment as a Navy Messenger. Canaletto also stayed for rather longer than two years.

A more interesting point is the realisation that the Redgraves were refreshingly unimpressed by the judgements of Horace Walpole, and, evidently, John Ruskin. The influence of the first of these two gentlemen has been poisonous, and the second was seriously unbalanced, and perhaps only marginally sane, as I've come to recognize during the last 30 years. The Redgraves do not mention Ruskin even once, and their opinion of Walpole is obvious from the excerpt provided above. It is clear they were concerned to promote British painting, and had little interest in what Horace was pleased to call "foreign ornament".

A robust defence of Monamy is mounted by the Redgraves. Unlike Walpole, or Ruskin, with his "Stones of Venice", they favoured painters who could be strongly identified with the national interest. Nonetheless, it is striking that they mention Brooking and Paton, but not Swaine; and James, but not Nickolls. Monamy was not, of course, a pupil of the Vandeveldes, those foreign favourites of the Stuarts, and not much of an imitator, either. Below is a selection of various purveyors of London views, including some of the tolerable topographical offerings of Samuel Scott.

A pot-pourri of views with attributions

At left are three versions, all attributed to Scott, of Pope's Villa on the Thames. This has an appearance substantially different from that in the picture attributed to Nickolls, above left, which suggests that Nickolls painted his view some considerable time before Scott. It seems that Nickolls was active well before the arrival of Canaletto, and his following by Scott, James, and others. I'm moved to wonder if the third painting of Pope's Villa is actually correctly attributed ? Perhaps it was the earliest version of this evidently enlarged villa.

Searching further for more views of London has produced two more names. One of these is Thomas Priest, about whom I know very little; likewise his reputed work. Another is John Chapman, illustrated at top left of the pot-pourri.

The details accompanying this picture of the Horse Guards Parade are as follows:

It is now owned by the Government Art Collection, and hangs in Downing Street. Attributed by Sotheby's in 1969 to Samuel Scott, it passed through the hands of the Leger Galleries, and Oscar & Peter Johnson, and thence to its present owners in 1977. Measuring 89.5 cm by 135 cm, and dated to c 1760, no explanation is offered for its re-attribution to John Chapman, who is claimed as active 1750-1780. Perhaps a signature was found.

It is, however, clearly not by Samuel Scott. Imho.

Try a little genealogical research.

See here for more River Thames paintings.

samuel scott: one       samuel scott: two
samuel scott: three: battles       more on battles
samuel scott: four calms
scott, walpole, canaletto
joseph nickolls ?
article 1981       article 1983
monamy website index

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