British 19th C, except portraits, East of England and The Midlands: Artists and Subjects 31 Can you identify the 'E. M.' that painted this view of Derby?

Topic: Artist

Can anyone identify the artist of this work, currently known as 'E. M.'? Derby Museums Trust has provided a photograph of the inscription on the back of the painting, attached below. The collection has examined the painting and no other inscription has been found. Any further information would be welcome.

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To me the Edward Masters on Invaluable and elsewhere (e.g. several pseudo-Dutch village landscapes in an amateur manner) look stylistically very different indeed to the Derby painting. Are we sure E.M. are the intitials of the artist, and not, for example, an owner? What is the words after E.M.?

It looks like 'E. M. mor -' but if in the same hand as the date and title (and the Ms look comparable) at a slightly smaller or at least tighter scale and as a subsequent addition: 'mor' might be 'morning' for the scene but if not artist initials or a buyer coming for it in the 'mor', its hard to suggest what, though it looks too leafy for an 'Early May morning'. 'Moorgate' is an old and main street in Derby (and name of the railway station), but it would be a very perfunctory abbreviation for it.

Andrew Chamberlain,

It could be 'E.M. mar -' rather than 'E.M. mor -' Compare the cursive letters a and o in the word 'Meadows'

Robert Purdie,

Could the lettering after the initials be a date? Second half looks like ~02

Patty Macsisak,

After rereading that Goodey searched far afield for Derby material, I wonder if "E. M., mor" 1) could be written in Goodey's own hand 2) could refer to the provenance of the painting (e.g., an estate sale) 3) whether Goodey was known to make similar notations on other paintings.

Having looked at this again, I think the inscription verso reads 'E. M. junr'. In the 19th century that was, I believe, the way 'junior' was written. Is there any agreement on that please (or alternative opinion)? If agreed we would then probably be looking for the names of father and son artists, presumably early to mid 19th century, potentially from the East Midlands?

Thank you Tim and Jacinto for your comments. I have now seen the online image of the Isaac Mosley painting, said to be dated 1820, which is of Derwent Street Bridge, Derby. It is apparently an oil on a board measuring about 21 x 30 cm and it was sold at auction some years ago. Unfortunately, without a subscription, I cannot enlarge the image provided. I think we should await any possible further contributions to this discussion in the next week or two and if none perhaps Marion will kindly approach the collection for their comments on the possibility that Isaac Mosley could be 'our' artist. The Derby Museums work and the auctioned painting of Derwent Street Bridge are of a very similar size and both are on a board.

Osmund Bullock,

I'm afraid I can't see that as 'junr', Grant. One might imagine 'jnor', I suppose, but (a) I've never come across that as an abbreviation of junior, and (b) the inscriber seems to relish the chance to write tails that drop down below the line - look the ones on the 'J' & 'y' of July, the '9' of 1829, and 'y' of Derby. I don't, therefore, believe the first letter of the mystery word can be a 'j', and 's' seems scarcely more likely (as well as 'snor' being again an unknown abbreviation to me). Senr/junr are standard, often with the 'r' slightly raised, and sr/jr, snr/jnr and occasionally sen/jun are also found.

I also find it hard to see the first letter as anything other than a cursive capital 'E'. I am as mystified as everyone else by the (?)'mor', and have nothing better to offer.

Tim Williams,

Images attached of the Hartley Auction picture... no imrovement really to the quality of the Arcadia image. The picture was presented twice in 2007, and I would imagine they've archived their records since then.

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Jacinto Regalado,

Tim, I think the picture under discussion is by a somewhat more accomplished painter, albeit not dramatically so. Like Osmund, I also think the first initial is much more likely to be an E than an I.

Tim Williams,

The quality of image titled 'mosely1' doesn't help a favourable comparison admittedly, but the second image shows it to be better painting. The execution of the trees, sky (if you look closely the sky is more dynamic than the photo allows), and positioning of the tower are favourable, the rendering of the water less so, but without a better quality image it's near impossible to tell.

Like you I favour an 'E', but equally I'm not entirely convinced that it is the artist's signature. It's hard to tell, but from the image provided it gives the impression that particular inscription is in pencil whereas the date and title are in dip pen.

Both works are inscribed verso.

By no means conclusive, but the best we've got so far.

Like several other contributors, I think it is by no mean certain that 'E.M.' are in fact the artist's initials, and the following word is still unclear. The hand seems different, and is in a different medium, to the date and title, which could indeed be by the artist. Without other useful images of related works I think we are sadly no further forward.

Marcie Doran,

Yes, this is an unusual guess but I think that this painting belonged to the wealthy Edward Miller Mundy (b. October 18, 1750) of Shipley Hall, Derby.{LPARENTHESES} 1750–1822)

He passed away on October 18, 1822, and in his will (PROB 11/1669/225) he indicated that some of the items in his possession belonged to his (third) wife Catherine Mundy (née Coffin)(d. April 12, 1847) before their marriage. He indicated that those items were to remain her belongings, and that the residue of his estate was to pass to his eldest son Edward Miller Mundy (d. 1834).

I imagine that when his art collection was separated, notations were made on the back of the paintings. "E.M. mar" could have been an abbreviation of "Edward Mundy marriage" (as suggested by Andrew Chamberlain, 26/02/2017 16:22). As shown in the attached article, Edward Miller Mundy (d. 1834) was in Derby for work on July 23, 1823 (six days before the date inscribed on the painting). The inscription would not necessarily have been in the handwriting of Edward Miller Mundy (d. 1834).

Edward Miller Mundy (d. 1822) had been the M.P. for Derby for 39 years when he passed away. It would make sense that he owned a lovely landscape of Derby.

Perhaps the archivists who recently catalogued the Miller Mundy papers came across an inventory of artwork.

Earlier today, I sent an email to the Derbyshire Record Office, asking if the Shipley Hall papers include an inventory of paintings.

Marcie Doran,

Yesterday the archivist at the Derbyshire Record Office advised me that the Miller Mundy inventory that I referenced in my email to her (D517/1/136) does not contain works of art and that the catalogue does not show an inventory for works of art.

She suggested that I search the D517 catalogue with additional search terms – "click on ‘Advanced search’ and enter D517 in the ‘Reference number’ box and then any term of your choice in the ‘Any Text’ box."

I performed searches for "picture", "painting" and "portrait". The search produced results that mentioned portraits by the Reverend Matthew William Peters (1742–1814) and R.R. Reinagle (1775–1862). Actually, Reinagle might be worth considering.

I was also advised to search the National Archives for inventories of the Miller Mundy family and did so without success.

Ramsay Richard Reinagle certainly enjoyed patronage in Derbyshire. From ArtUK we learn that in 1809 and 1817 he painted portraits of Francis Noel Clarke Mundy of Markeaton Hall just outside Derby. In 1813 he painted Richard Arkwright junior of Cromford Mill near Matlock. In 1828 he painted portraits of the Curzons of Kedleston Hall and the Crewes of Calke Abbey, both near Derby.

Among the many landscape paintings he exhibited at the Royal Academy and British Institution was a 'Scene in Calke Abbey Park', commissioned by Sir George Crewe and shown with the pair of Crewe portraits at the RA in 1829:

But did he paint landscape oil sketches comparable to the view of Derby under discussion? The following work, dated to the 1840s, is on millboard and of similar size, though it seems to be rather more assured in handling:

And this Matlock landscape of'c.1830' is also oil on board but larger, and more finished and detailed:

Jacinto Regalado,

Louis, it is dated 1823. Wright of Derby died in 1797.

Louis Musgrove,

Jacinto- the Label is dated 1823,probably an inventory of Edward Miller Mundy- so not painted by E.M. and probably painted much earlier- well thats what I guess. And it does look a bit like Joseph Wright to me-- possibly??/


I fear the first of your ‘Wright’ examples, ‘Ironworking’, is only an attribution, while the second, the ‘ Funeral Pyre’, has long been discredited as an authentic work by this artist. The latter belongs to York Art Gallery of which I was Curator for 25 years and I know the picture at first hand. I do not think the Derby view is by Wright.

Louis Musgrove,

Ah well- just a suggestion.Mind you- there do seem a lot of small oil on board paintings " After Joseph Wright" or "School of Joseph Wright" that have come onto the market???
By the way- should not the Art Uk entry /description of the Funeral Pyre be updated- as Richard Green says it is erroneous.For a long time!

Osmund Bullock,

Louis, you cannot possibly describe the as yet unexplained 'E.M. xxxx' rear inscription (not a label, I think) as "probably an inventory of Edward Miller Mundy". Marcie's suggested reading of it as 'E[ward] M[undy] mar[riage]' is pure speculation - of interest, but to me unlikely, and with essentially no evidence to support it. If the initials were 'EMM' I might think it plausible; but 'EM' (and we're not even sure of that - the M could easily be a scribbled N) with something unintelligible after it could be a quick and idiosyncratic note by anyone (perhaps the artist, perhaps not) of practically anything - the light, the place, the time of day or year (East Meadow morning??); the name of the buyer or later owner or just the bloke coming to pick it up in the mornng; how or by whom it's to be framed, which room or wall it's to be hung in/on...the possibilities are endless. More ideas about that would be welcome, as none so far ring true to me; but in truth I doubt we'll ever know.

It might be helpful to an assessment of the painting's approximate date if someone could find a detailed pre-railways map of the locality. The earliest I can find is from the early 1880s (Ordnance Survey at Nat. Library of Scotland , when things were much more built up - but when did this happen? The viewpoint must have been in meadows to the east of the River Derwent, looking roughly north-west towards the dominant tower of All Saint's Church (later the Cathedral). An approximation of the same view today is this drone view on Google Maps: - I think the artist must have been roughly where the nearer van is parked, next to the wall of the industrial building on the right. He seems to have brought the church rather closer in the composition.

Andrew Chamberlain,

To obtain an approximation to the roof profile of the church (and assuming no distortions in composition) the viewpoint would have to be nearer to Longbridge Weir, as in the attached image from Google Earth. This would also account for the presence of what appear to be masts of vessels to the left of the church tower. Up until about 1914 there was an inlet extending 200m south from the river, just above the smaller weir that is visible in the GE image (the inlet served the Morledge Works, built in 1806 but the inlet may be earlier).

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Marcie Doran,

Could the artist have been William Alfred Delamotte (1775-1863)? The different coloured trees and the water in the landscape at this link seem to me to be quite similar to those in the work being discussed.

Delamotte produced works in Derby, such as the one referenced at this link.

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