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Title Portrait of John Monck
Collection Geffrye Museum, London
Artist Batoni, Pompeo (Italian painter and draftsman, 1708-1787)
Date 1764 (dated)
Signed yes
Description John Monck (1735-1809) was a member of the Somerset gentry and lived most of his life in Bath. Monck was painted by Batoni whilst in Rome. He is shown next to a copy of an antique statue of Pallas Athene, chosen to reflect Monck's knowledge of the antique. The bust appears in several other portraits by Batoni of the 1760s. Monck and his wife both also sat for Angelica Kauffman. Batoni first trained with his father, a goldsmith in Lucca, moving to Rome by the age of twenty. Here he became part of the Neoclassical circle, specialising in portraits of the rich and famous. Batoni painted a high number of British visitors to Rome whilst on the Grand Tour, including Prince Charles.
Current Accession Number 36/1981
Inscription front lr 'PB.1764'
Subject portrait (Monck, John); mythology (Pallas Athene)
Measurements 99.5 x 74 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased from Ronald A. Lee (Fine Arts) Ltd with the aid of a National Art-Collections Fund Grant and a Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant 1981.
Provenance John Monck, 1764; by descent to John Berkeley Monck (;); by descent to Stanley Bligh-Monck, Yorkshire; Christie's sale, London, 19 June 1970, lot 104, ill. as Portrait of John Monck, Master of Ceremonies; bought by Leadbeater, 1970, 1500 guineas; with Herner Wengraf Ltd, London, 1971-73; Christie's sale, London, 17 March 1978, lot 71, ill., 6,000.
Principal Exhibitions International Art Treasures Exhibition, Assembly Rooms, Bath, 1973, cat. no. 19.
Publications International Art Treasures Exhibition, Assembly Rooms, Bath, 1973, cat. no. 19, p. 4, pl. 1; National Art Collections Fund Annual Report, London, 1980, pp. 26-7, ill.; Arts Review, 24 April 1981, vol XXXIII, no. 8, ill. p. 152; 'News from the World of Art', Apollo, July 1981, vol. 114, p. 63, ill.; 'Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions', Burlington Magazine, August 1981, vol. 123, no. 941, p. 510, fig. 71 p. 508; Clark, Anthony. M., Pompeo Baroni: A Complete Catalogue of his Works, Oxford, 1985, cat. no. 271, pp. 293-4, pl. 252; Ingamells, J., A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800, New Haven, 1997, p. 667.
Notes The original full length statue of Pallas Athene is in the Vatican in Rome. Batoni has only depicted Monck in half rather than full length, indicating that Monck was of more modest means. However, Monck was wealthy enough by this date to take part in a Grand Tour, a custom associated with the wealthy nobility. The painting of John Monck by Angelica Kauffman is in the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York and was painted in 1763, a year before the one by Batoni. The likeness in the two works is very strong. See further: Dodge Peters, Susan (ed.), Memorial Art Gallery: An Introduction to the Collection, New York, 1988, p. 110. Kauffman also painted a portrait of Mrs John Monck. This work is close in style to another portrait by Batoni, Portrait of John, 1st Baron Wodehouse and which also has a black ribbon around the sitter's neck. The black neck tie may indicate that the Monck was Master of Ceremonies at the Assembly Rooms in Bath, the town where Monck lived. However, there is no record of Monck having ever held this position in Bath. Monck died and was buried in Bath at St Swithin's Walcot. His son, John Berkeley Monck (d. 1834), erected a monument by John Flaxman in memory of his father in St Mary-the-Virgin in Reading. This records that Monck was a descendant of the Moncks of Potheridge in Devonshire. See further: Whinney, M. & Gunnis, R., The Collection of Models by John Flaxman R.A. at University College London, London, 1967,cat. no. 3, p. 12.
Rights Owner Geffrye Museum, London
Author Dr Madeleine Korn



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