The Sir Walter Thomas Monnington Collection in the British School at Rome Fine Arts Archive
The archival holdings relating to Sir Thomas Monnington (1902-1976) illuminate the progress of one of his most significant earlier works, Allegory (Tate, 1924). The studies in this slideshow show how he developed the poses and facial expressions of his subjects, as well as the shading and placement against the light. They reveal the experimentations Monnington conducted with these elements. Notice, too, how some of these studies carry more detail than the final version, which was deliberately left ‘unfinished’ in places.
The figures of Allegory were set against the back drop of Piediluco, a lake that marks the border between Lazio and Umbria. This was a favourite spot for Monnington and he painted other landscapes of the area.
This study of a tree, likely from the Borghese gardens that are in close proximity to the BSR, reveals the attention to detail that artists must pay to shape and proportionality. The grid here is a traditional method used for accuracy and it was key to the pedagogy of the Slade School of Art at the time.
Other portrait studies show Monnington’s training in capturing the details of people’s faces.
Where would you like to go next? Who would you like to meet?
Please click on the images to enlarge them.
For a full bibliography and further reading, see here.