Four signed paintings. In a ship such as this Monamy might have sailed with his uncle Andrew,
and kinsman Daniel Le Febvre, on their trading business visits to Holland.
These took place in about 1696, when Peter was 15.

"There is scarce a Painter but has repeated some one of his works, either because he was pleased with it, or because he was desired to draw one like it." De Piles, The Art of Painting, Chap XXVIII, part III.


between the calm and the storm

Fresh, Brisk, Strong
Ships Large and Small

Eight of the eleven prints after Monamy, published in 1745/46 by Bowles, sub-divide into four moods of the sea and four times of day. The four times of day are: Morning or Sun Rising, Noon, Sun behind a Cloud, and Evening. The moods of the sea turn from calm, through fresh breezes, to tempest, and then death by water. This page introduces the central mood: fresh breezes and squalls, subdivided into two sections: large ships and small ships. The sub-sub-divisions of the large ships will show winds blowing left to right, and right to left.

The fresh sea-breeze is the mood which falls halfway between the calms so greatly preferred by the comfortably landed man, and the turbulences he deplores and the seaman relishes. Below is the painting rather hesitantly attributed by Michael Robinson to van de Velde, said to be dated 1677, and a painting attributed to Francis Swaine, Monamy's English marine painting heir. The labels fixed to picture frames come and go, and they are not seldom wrong. That's why I haven't fixed one to the central panel, which is a detail from a tiny picture attributed to Monamy, but probably by a follower. Although you can't always tell.

Naming Small Ships & Little Vessels

These drawings of small Dutch ships were given to me by Michael Robinson, who also supplied the notes, in English. Glad they've finally come to use. English version by W.H.Toms, above.

What I took to be drawings are in fact engravings, and can be found in Aus dem Zeitalter der Segelschiffe, by Eich and Wend, 1985, and the three examples depicted below are by Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman. The book contains many other engravings of ships and sea views, notably by Claude Lorrain, Jan Porcellis, Dirk Stoop, Wenzel Hollar and Ludolf Bakhuysen, all of which would have been available to Monamy, and supplying a base for him to draw on, of far greater daily practical use than anything by van de Velde.

Smalschip: a common type in the 17th century with upright stern and with the tiller passing through the rail. Usually sprit-rigged in the 17th century. Could be called a tjalk in the 16th century: rail upright.

Kaag: a very common type in the 17th century with a straight overhanging stem. Tiller passes over the stern; usually sprit-rigged in the 17th century. Rail "tumbles home"; ie curves in along the upper edge.

Boeier (deep sea): gaff-rigged; hull more like a smalschip or wydschip. Boeier (inland): rather like a kaag with tumble-home rails, but with a round spoon bow instead of a straight overhanging bow. Galjoot (galliot): standing gaff with small lateen mizzen; narrow leeboards; upright rails.

peter monamy, with mate at helm: tiller passes over the stern

Fresh Breezes: Small Ships
one: the smaalschip/kaag   two: small ships   three: small ships and yachts
more on yachts

Fresh Breezes: Large Ships Heeling
introductory page: winds left to right/right to left

From The Journal of a Slave Trader, 1750-1754, by John Newton. Published 1962.
By 1788 Newton had become a fully committed abolitionist.

calms, calms, calms
monamy website index

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2003, 2007, 2013
all rights reserved