Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Monamy, Peter

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MONAMY, PETER (1670?–1749), marine painter, born of poor parents about 1670, was a native of Jersey. He was sent to London when a boy, and apprenticed to an ordinary house-painter on London Bridge, but having a real aptitude for painting he devoted himself to drawing the shipping and other similar subjects on the Thames. He based his manner on those of the two William Van de Veldes, and soon became known to the seafaring community. His pictures were marked not only by good execution, but by close and accurate acquaintance with all the minor details of shipping. His colour was, however, somewhat tame and ineffective. There are two pictures by him at Hampton Court, and a large sea-piece by him is in the hall of the Painter-Stainers' Company, to which it was presented by the painter in 1726. Monamy painted parts of the decorative paintings at Vauxhall, including some representing Admiral Vernon's victories. He also decorated a carriage for the ill-fated Admiral Byng. He resided during the latter part of his life on the riverside in Westminster, where he died early in February 1749 in poor circumstances, as most of his work was done for dealers. His portrait, painted by H. Stubly, was engraved in mezzotint by J. Faber, junior, in 1731, another, engraved by Bretherton, is in Walpole's 'Painters.' An interesting picture of Monamy showing a picture to a patron, Thomas Walker, is in the possession of the Earl of Derby, and was formerly at Strawberry Hill; the figures were painted by William Hogarth, and the sea-piece by Monamy. Monamy also executed a few etchings.

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Vertue's MSS. (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 23074 f. 1, 23076 f. 13; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Catalogue of a Century of British Art (Grosvenor Gallery, 1887-8).]

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