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John Munday (1924 -2012) - 1975 Oil, The Ariosto On The Thames



A fine oil depiction of the British Steam merchant ship, the Ariosto, making its way up the Thames towards Tower Bridge under a misty sky. The artist has created great depth in the painting, using a graphic, dark impasto technique on the boats in the foreground that stand out against the softer, hazy silhouette of the bridge in the distance.

The artist has signed to the lower right corner and the painting has been presented in a simple, light wood frame. There is an inscription on the reverse with a note from the artist saying "With happy memories of your stay with us. Helen & John. 1975."

On board.


The painting has a series of curved horizontal cracking across the top from an impact on the reverse. The painting is in otherwise fine condition. The frame is in fine condition.


44.5 x 55.7cm (17.5" x 21.9")
Framed Size: 48.5 x 64cm (19.1" x 25.2")

Artist Biography

Born in 1924 in Portsmouth, Munday drafted into the Navy in 1942. Only briefly afloat in a minesweeper, he served mostly in operational support in southern Italy. Commissioned Sub-Lieutenant RNVR in 1944, he was demobilised in 1946 after a final stint at Portsmouth in HMS Victory, which was (and is) the flagship there.

He then trained in fine art and in 1950 gained a Durham BA at King's College, Newcastle, where he was taught by Roger de Grey – later President of the Royal Academy – and met his future wife. In 1951 he came to Greenwich as Assistant Keeper in charge of the NMM Library, where he developed an interest in naval uniform and illustrated books.
In 1971, when "W&A" was formed, he was appointed to head it (becoming Keeper in 1979), again with a strong display brief, initially concentrated on new 19th and then 18th century naval galleries. In 1972 he was elected FSA and from 1979-84 – when he became Curator Emeritus on retiring – he was Secretary of the Society for Nautical Research. From 1980 and 1985 both the SS Great Britain and the Victory also benefited from his presence on their advisory committees.

Munday drew and painted all his adult life. He illustrated two booklets on swords and firearms, and his own Heads and Tails: the Necessary Seating – an entertainingly arcane essay on lavatorial arrangements in the sailing Navy (for a colleague's festschrift in 1978). He painted original portraits, but he was also a skilled copyist of historical ones and of marine subjects: copies by him of early marine works at Greenwich are in the maritime museums at Barcelona and Lisbon.

John Munday, museum curator and artist: born Portsmouth 10 August 1924; married 1953 Brenda Warden (two sons); died Alresford, Hampshire 20 April 2012.

More Information
Code qe134
Artist John Munday (1924 -2012)
Date 1975
Dimensions 44.5 x 55.7cm
Medium Oil
Style Realism
Subject Architecture & Cityscapes
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