Artist biography

PETER MONAMY 1681–1749

Marine painter who modelled his style chiefly on that of William van de Velde (d.1707), whose work became accessible in the form of prints, especially after the publication in 1725 of sixteen engravings by Elisha Kirkall; but Charles Harrison-Wallace stresses that ‘Far too many of Monamy's paintings seem far too naive for him ever to have been schooled by the superlative van de Veldes’, and points out that Monamy borrowed from a variety of sources.

Baptised 12 January 1680/1 at St Botolph's-without-Aldgate, London, son of Peter Monamy (merchant) and his wife Dorothy. Apprenticed 3 March 1696 to William Clark, Master of the Painter-Stainers Company (whom Vertue, III, p.14 calls ‘a Sign & house painter on London Bridge’); himself admitted to that livery 23 November 1726. Lived in London; took an apprentice 1708, and may have built up a workshop. Chiefly painted ship portraits, naval battles, calms and storms. Painted four scenes for the decoration of supper-boxes at Vauxhall Gardens, c. 1740–3 (engraved 1743); ten engravings by P.C. Canot after works by Monamy published 1746; presented a marine painting (now lost) to the Foundling Hospital, for which (with Samuel Wale and Thomas Gainsborough) he received thanks, 11 May 1748. Buried at St Margaret's, Westminster, 7 February 1748/9.

EXHIBITIONS Charles Harrison-Wallace, exhibition catalogue, Peter Monamy 1681–1749 Marine Artist, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester 1983 (no pagination): note that the ‘Catalogue’ is a selective chronological list of forty-five identifiable and representative works by Monamy, not a list of works exhibited in 1983

Published in:
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988