Private Collection

Monnington, Sir Thomas

(1902 – 1976)

Study for Christ meeting the woman of Samaria at the well, for Kippen Kirk, circa 1930

Studio stamp to reverse
Tempera, 3 15/16 x 3 3/4 in. (10 x 9.5 cm.)

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Lady Monnington

Provenance: Lady Monnington


In a gilded flat section frame with square outer moulding

Between 1924 and 1936 Kippen Church was transformed from being an unremarkable Presbyterian Kirk into one of the most beautiful of Scotlands religious buildings. The reconstruction of the building was undertaken in celebration of its centenary, and largely funded by Sir David (D.Y.) Cameron (1865-1945), who was at the time a member of the Kirk Session. A Director of both the National Gallery of Scotland and the Tate Gallery, Camerons influence extended throughout the artistic community of his day and he commissioned works from many of his favourite artists, including Monnington who was asked to produce a painting for one of the three chapels. The chosen subject  shows Jesus on the way to Galilee passing through Samaria: It was noon when he reached the beautiful Vale of Shechem. At the opening of this valley was Jacob’s well. Wearied with His journey, he sat down here to rest while his disciples went to buy food.


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THE ARTIST

Monnington, Sir Thomas

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

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Sir Thomas Monnington
Design for the ceiling of the Mary Harris Memorial Chapel, (pale ground) University of Exeter, 1956
£11,000.00