This view is described as The Temple of Comus in Vauxhall Gardens


The actions depicted on this page were engraved by R.Parr, whose first name is now confidently asserted to be Richard, after Monamy's Vauxhall paintings. These will have been displayed in Vauxhall by about 1741-42. Perhaps the earlier incident, the capture of the San Joseph, 23rd September 1739, was on view some time before the Porto Bello triumph, which so fired the public imagination that Scott also painted it --- though not for general display. The Porto Bello news didn't reach London until 12th March 1740.

Publish'd according to Act of Parliamt Octr 28. 1743.

By 1762 there seemed to be confusion about the ships involved in this action: see here.

The Taking of the San Joseph
Oil on panel, 9½ x 14½; Messrs Parker June 1969; Auction 20/11/85, Lot 11

small version of the taking of the San Joseph; paired with Princesa

NMM. 15 x 19½. Signed. Its small size indicates it is not the Vauxhall Gardens original.
Hayman's several Vauxhall paintings are about 55 x 95,
although this is not conclusive evidence that Monamy's works were as large.
This painting may well have been merely copied from the print.

Hand-coloured version of the print.

[name erased] pinx. Publis'd by Thos Bowles according to Act of Parliamt October 28 1743
R.Parr sculp from the Original Painting in Vaux-hall Garden.
Printed for Thos Bowles in St Pauls Church Yard & John Bowles at the Black Horse in Cornhill.

There are numerous versions of the capture of Porto Bello, several by Monamy, and others by other artists, including Samuel Scott. See here for more on Porto Bello. None of those I have seen so far precisely matches the above engraving, and one must assume that the Vauxhall Gardens originals of both this and the capture of the San Joseph have not survived. Nevertheless, there is fairly close correspondence between the San Joseph painting in the museum and the print. These prints are unlikely to have been reversed --- certainly not the Porto Bello, based on Lieutenant Durell's sketch-map, which would have to depict the Iron Fort to the left of the composition. It is difficult to say whether the San Joseph paintings shown here follow the print, and not vice versa. Since the clouds and sea are simplified in the oils, it seems more probable that they follow the print. An x-ray might settle the matter, since copies are less prone to artist correction. See "battles" page.

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