Sir Thomas Monnington:
Study for A Commissioner, standing full length, St. Stephen's Hall, Palace of Westminster, circa 1926
Unmounted (ref: 5596)
Pencil and red chalk on tracing paper
20 x 12 in. (50.8 x 30.4 cm)
Tags: Sir Thomas Monnington portraits
Provenance: The estate of R Schwabe; thence be descent, inherited by his granddaughters through his daughter.
The English and
Scottish commissioners present articles of agreement
for the Parliamentary Union of the two countries to Queen Anne at St
Jame's Palace in July 1707 was one of eight subjects set by Sir Henry
Newbolt for the decorative scheme of history paintings in St. Stephen’s
Hall in the Palace of Westminster. The paintings, by eight artists
working as a team under a Master Painter, Sir David Young Cameron, were
executed in matt oil colours in marble medium. Orpen was originally
scheduled to paint this subject but dropped out. Cameron invited
Monnington, then aged 23, to tackle it instead. Monnington was the
youngest of the team by ten years and his inclusion - despite grumblings
from Rothenstein about giving important wall space to untried
youngsters, (William Rothenstein, Since Fifty, 1939, p 25), is evidence
of his prodigious early reputation.
The finished work is 9 x 15
ft. Monnington clearly based his composition on Peter Angeliss Queen
Anne and the Knights of the Garter, painted in 1713, (National Portrait
Gallery). A small-scale preliminary oil sketch (31 x 44 ¾) was given by
Monnington to Cameron, who bequeathed it to the National Gallery of
Scotland. A sanguine study for the head of a nobleman was purchased by
the Contemporary Art Society and presented to the British Museum in
Monnington was working on the Cartoon when visited by Tonks
in February 1927; Tonks, Monnington reported to his brother, seemed to
like the work very well…. Whatever else he may be, Monnington added,
Tonks is a very great critic.
The final paintings were unveiled on 28 June 1927 by the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.