1681 - 1749
Firing a Salute in The Nore

Oil on canvas, signed and dated ‘1724’ bottom right
Image size: 48 x 36 inches (121 x 91 cm)
Hand carved gilt frame
POA

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This exquisite rediscovered artwork by Monamy showcases his complex and detailed style, particularly impressive given that it was created during the early stages of his career. The painting depicts The Nore, a fleet anchorage situated in the Thames estuary near Southend that was widely used during Monamy’s era.

At the heart of the scene is a first rate ship, the largest man-o-War vessel of its time, usually armed with around one hundred guns. The flagship of the fleet is depicted firing a salute to pay tribute to the commanding Admiral. We can see the Admiral sitting in the stern of a longboat, being rowed towards the flagship, although it is impossible to determine which of the figures on the boat is actually the Admiral since there were no official uniforms at the time.

The Nore has been a crucial site for Royal Navy anchorage for centuries, being strategically positioned close to London, the city’s port, and the Medway, England’s main naval base and dockyard in the North Sea. Due to its location, the Nore was a considerable threat to shipping, and as such, in 1732, the world’s first lightship was anchored over it in a groundbreaking experiment.

 

 

Peter Monamy

Peter Monamy was born in London in 1681, the youngest son of a Guernseyman. Trained originally in house decoration, Peter Monamy was probably largely self-taught as a marine painter. His style closely followed that of Willem van de Velde the younger.

Monamy was working after the van de Velde family and other Dutch painters, who had come to work in England, had heightened interest in shipping pictures and created a growing market for them.

He emerged with Samuel Scott as one of the two leading figures in the first generation of British marine painters, although his range of work is uneven in quality. He worked industriously for at least 40 years and left a wealth of paintings illustrating the nation’s naval history and recording a wide range of ships of the first half of the 18th century.

In 1726, he was elected Liveryman ofthe Company of Painter-Stainers to which he presented a very large painting of the ‘Royal Sovereign at anchor’ which still remains in their collection. Although his paintings usually depict actual ships, they rarely record specific events as, up until 1739, his career coincided with a long period of peace.