Sir Thomas Monnington

Trees and Rocks


Graphite on paper
Support: 503 x 635 mm
Purchased 1984

Catalogue entry

T03832 Trees and Rocks 1952

Pencil on paper 19 3/4 × 25 (503 × 635)
Not inscribed
Purchased from Lady Monnington (Grant-in-Aid) 1984
Exh: RA 1952 (1126, as ‘Study: Trees and Rocks’); Drawings and Paintings by Sir Thomas Monnington PRA 1902–1976, RA, October–November 1977 (38)

Lady Monnington writes (letter, 22 May 1986): ‘I clearly remember him doing a lot of drawings, and one or two small oils, in the quarry behind our house [near Groombridge, Kent] in the years 1949–1954.’ Lady Monnington owns one of the oils, which is on canvas and measures 24 × 20 ins.

The most finished of the known drawings of this motif is ‘Trees and Rocks’ 1954 (chalk heightened with white, on waxed tracing paper, 24 × 24 ins., coll. Royal Academy of Arts, to which bequeathed by Marshall Sisson RA in 1978). This drawing is reproduced in RA Illustrated 1954 (pl.74), and in the catalogue of Monnington's memorial retrospective at the Royal Academy in 1977 (pl.6). In the latter catalogue Judy Egerton writes that the Academy's drawing:

treats the same trees and rocks [as represented in the Tate's drawing] as if they were part of a structure with geometric proportions, taking the subject several degrees nearer to abstraction and compressing the design into a veritable square. Monnington later referred to [the Academy's drawing] as the best drawing he ever did. The present location of a drawing representing an intermediate stage in the process of abstraction (exh. RA 1952, 1117, repr. RA Illustrated 1952, pl.80) is unknown.

The dimensions of this latter drawing are 24 × 26 ins.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986