Doctor Thomas Monro

Physician, Patron and Painter
  • Published: September 2009
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 216
  • Size: 5.5x8.5
  • ISBN: 9781412099738
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Doctor Thomas Monro 1759-1833 Physician, Patron and Painter Introduction Thomas Monro, art collector and doctor to the insane, was a unique figure in London society of the eighteenth anbd early nineteenth centuries. In his professional capacity as head of Bethlem Hospital, Bedlam, the Hospital for the Insane, he was summoned to treat George the Third, during his bouts of madness. His private passion was painting in watercolor, and amongst the artists he befriended and encouraged were J.M.W. Turner and Thomas Girtin. Monro appears to be the missing link in the change of style in watercolors that took place around the beginning of the nineteenth century. Many young men who became leading artists of their day were students at the informal meeting of artists held in his house on Adelphi Terrace, weekly on a Friday evening, from 1974. His house became a studio turning out endless sketches and coloured drawings by young artists, known as 'Monro School Copies'. They copied from drawings by Munro, J.R. Cozens, William ALexander, Henry Edridge and Thomas Hearn: also Monro's neighbour John Henderson had a known contemporary collection of drawings, as had Monro himself, which the students copied from. In addition to Turner and Girtin, John Linnell, John Sell Cotman, Peter de Wint, William Henry Hunt, Joshua Cristall and John Varley, among others, found their way to Monro's evening gatherings. Monro and his friends taught them accusracy in drawing, accompanying them on outdoor sketching trips, teaching them to see from Nature, as well as giving them the enjoyment of the company of other young artists, with an opportunity to share ideas. The as yet acknowledged Monro, played a key role in the development of the styles of these artists. The rise and establishment of watercolor painting, with the standards and ideals which Monro insisted upon, had much to do with the unrivaled position which the English School in Water-Colours had attained by the time of his death, whilst John Ruskin went so far as to say that Thomas Monro was "Turner's true master." So many papers are still held by family memebers, which is why so little correct information had appeared on Thomas Monro to date. With five children surviving him, much has been distributed to their descendants, so it is difficult to get a clear picture. Included in the story is a brief description of Bedlam, od the Bethlem, Hospital. Monro never kept a diary, but his son Edward Thomas (Tom) did, and these diaries and those of his artistic son Henry, and Sally his daughter, have been made available to me. THese form the basis for the book, and are held by a member of the family. Letters and descriptions, many of still in private hands, gave further insight.

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