St. Michael’s Mount

Thomas Luny (1759 - 1837)

Oil on canvas

  • About the work
    Country: France
    City: Paris
    Place: British Embassy

    Luny painted at least three views of St. Michael’s Mount. A version dated 1825 (now in the collection of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter) shows a ship before the Mount, struggling in rough seas, as the crew are rescued and taken ashore. An article of 1886 describes it as:

    'A picture of high quality, in Luny’s best manner, though exhibiting his characteristic defects in the arrangement of the composition, as in the relative positions of the ship and Mount.'

    The same could be said of this version, in which the ships are viewed against the dark Mount behind. Luny also painted similar views of the Mount in 1814 and in 1834 (almost certainly this work). The 1834 version was owned by William John Watts, the High Sheriff of Devon by 1889, who lived at Forde House, Newton Abbot.

  • About the artist
    Thomas Luny, marine painter, apparently studied with the artist Francis Holman in London. He exhibited mostly at the Royal Academy, where he showed his work every year from 1780 to 1793. He showed nothing after 1793 until 1802, when he exhibited 'Battle of the Nile', and then nothing until the year of his death, when he exhibited three pictures. It is possible that in 1793 he joined the Royal Navy to fight in the French Revolutionary Wars. Luny retired to Teignmouth in Devon, in about 1810, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. In spite of being crippled by arthritis in both his hands and his legs for over 30 years he continued to paint assiduously and his total life's work is thought to have produced some 3000 pictures.
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  • Details
    St. Michael’s Mount
    Oil on canvas
    height: 51.00 cm, width: 68.50 cm
    Purchased from Appleby Bros, October 1951
    bl: Luny 1834
    GAC number