Catalogue entry

T00807 Ships in Distress in a Storm c. 1720–30

Oil on canvas 756×1065 (30 1/8×41 7/8)
Inscribed ‘P:Monamy:pinx[?it]:’ on spar lower left
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1965
PROVENANCE ...; D. Honeysett c.1945, anon. sale Christie's 19 November 1965 (56) bt Butlin for the Tate Gallery

Both ships in the foreground appear to be naval, and are two-deckers with forty to fifty guns each; they date from the end of the seventeenth century, and have the round gun ports which were abolished in 1700. A third ship on the horizon may be of the same size and age. It is unlikely that Monamy was depicting a particular occasion or that the rocky headland on the right is a specific place. The subject may have been inspired by the great gale of 1703 or the occasion in 1707 when Sir Cloudisley Shovell's fleet was in distress on the Scillies; though Charles Harrison-Wallace considers that stylistically this work dates from after 1720. (The compilers are grateful for the help of Mr Roger Quarm, National Maritime Museum, and Mr Charles Harrison-Wallace over this entry.)

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