John Cranch

Monks Merrymaking

c.1804

Artist
John Cranch 1751–1821
Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 162 x 210 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1968
Reference
T01048

Not on display

Display caption

This is one of two small pictures
by John Cranch showing monks
at work and at play. The companion
picture (now in a private collection)
shows the monks looking very bored, seated around a table strewn with
books, a skull, and an hour glass.
Here they are in a more festive mood.

 

Since the middle ages monks had
a reputation for indulgence. In Protestant England they were an especially common target for satire, representing everything that was deemed to be corrupt within
the Catholic church.

 

Gallery label, May 2002

Catalogue entry

John Cranch 1751–1821

T01048 Monks Merrymaking circa 1804

Inscribed ‘J.C’ on basket, b.c.
Oil on panel, 6¿ x 8¼ (16.2 x 21).
Purchased at Christie’s (Grant-in-Aid) 1968.
Coll: sold Robert Curr & Dewar, Dundee, 24 February 1960 (846, with companion), bt. David Fraser, sold Christie’s, 30 October 1964 (91, with companion), bt. Porter; ...; sold Christie’s, 22 March 1968 (36), bt. Butlin for Tate Gallery.

The companion picture mentioned above was An Abbot and Monks round a table with books, dated 1804.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1967–1968, London 1968.

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