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Sir Thomas Monnington (1902 - 1976)

The Annunciation, circa 1924/5

SKU: 184
Oil on canvas
39 x 57 in. (99 x 145 cm.)
Presentation:
framed

Size:
Height – 99cm x Width – 145cm

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
the Rt. Hon. F. Leverton Harris; Anthony Mould; Jonathon Clark Exhibited: Exhibition of Works Submitted in the Preliminary Competitions for the Rome Scholarship of 1926, together with Some Examples of the Work of Rome Scholars, Royal Academy, March 1926;

Exhibited: Exhibition of Works Submitted in the Preliminary Competitions for the Rome Scholarship of 1926, together with Some Examples of the Work of Rome Scholars, Royal Academy, March 1926; Inspired by Italy, Exeter Museum and Art Gallery, August – September 1996, (21); Thomas Monnington, The Fine Art Society, 1997, cat no. 15.

Literature: Paul Liss, Thomas Monnington, The Fine Art Society, 1997, pp 27 & 36; Sam Smiles, Inspired by Italy, Exeter Museum and Art Gallery, August – September 1996; British Murals and Decorative Painting 1920-1960, Sansom & Co, 2013

Although the subject of this painting is unclear it is most likely to be the Annunciation exhibited at the Royal Academy in March 1926. A reference by Monnington in December 1924, of his intention to paint, in addition to his Allegory, another smaller picture, some work for which I have already done. may relate to this painting. In another letter, from Jim Ede, the British School at Rome is informed that Mr. Leverton Harris – listed as the owner of the painting when exhibited at the Royal Academy – thought of going to see the picture but it seems that as yet it is hardly begun (23.3.1925).

The painting appears to be set in the Borghese Gardens, the setting Knights used for her Marriage at Cana, (1923-26).

 

Study of a laurel bush, 1919 is related to and probably a study for this painting.

 

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THE ARTIST

Sir Thomas Monnington
Sir Thomas
Monnington
1902 - 1976

Painter, especially of murals. Born in London, he studied at the Slade School in 1918-23 and was Rome Scholar in 1923-26. He married fellow Rome Scholar Winifred Knights in 1924. Among his public works are a decoration for St Stephen’s Hall, Westminster, 1928, and the new Council House in Bristol, 1956. Monnington taught drawing at the Royal Academy Schools, 1931-39, and in 1949 joined the staff of the Slade, whose strong linear tradition marked his own work. Monnington is represented in a number of public galleries, including the Tate, British Museum and Imperial War Museum. He was elected RA in 1938, became its President in 1966 and was knighted in 1967. There was a memorial exhibition at the RA in 1977. Another traveled from the British School at Rome to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter and the Fine Art Society in 1997. From the 1940s Monnington lived in Groombridge, Kent; the local landscape inspired much of his post-war work. Monnington was one of the outstanding draughtsmen of his generation. He had a considerable influence as a teacher (Euan Uglow was among his pupils), and was one of the most effective of the twentieth-century presidents of the RA, turning around the Academy’s ailing fortunes. Remarkably he was the first president of the Academy to produce abstract paintings and indeed made no distinction between abstract and figurative art: “Surely what matters is not whether a work is abstract or representative, but whether it has merit. If those who visit exhibitions would come without preconceptions, would apply to art the elementary standards they apply in other spheres, they might glimpse new horizons. They might ask themselves: is this work distinguished or is it commonplace? Fresh and original or uninspired, derivative and dull? Is it modest or pretentious?” (Interview in the Christian Science Monitor, 29.5.67).

Selected Literature: Judy Egerton, Sir Thomas Monnington, Royal Academy of Arts, 1977 Paul Liss, Sir Thomas Monnington, British School at Rome/Fine Art Society plc, 1997

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