Completed British 19th C, except portraits, London: Artists and Subjects, Maritime Subjects, South West England: Artists and Subjects 30 Who painted this copy after Clarkson Frederick Stanfield (1793–1867)?

DEV_DMU_1997_326
Topic: Artist

I am helping the collection to research the 1877 copy of the Clarkson Stanfield original 'Dartmouth from King's Quay'. We would like to verify the name of the copyist of our version.

I have been into the museum and taken photographs of the copy, focusing on revealing the signature, which is done in red paint. See attachment.

My reading of this is 'R AMOR' but all in lowercase, thus: 'r amor'. I find this reasonably convincing. It will be interesting to see what others think.

I investigated the possibility of R. Amor in the censuses. I found Robert Thomas Amor, Trade: Engineer's draughtsman, marine. Born 1850, and died young in 1886. He shows up in 1851, aged 1, in 1861, 1871, and 1881 censuses. He was in Limehouse London in 1871, married in 1876.

I have compared our painting with the etching of Stanfield’s original. This comparison reveals one significant difference. The copyist has added a small sail boat in the river on the left-hand side, above the wooden posts. The engraving, and most probably Stanfield’s original in colour, of which we do not, at present, know the location, were associated with the production in 1836 of his book entitled 'Stanfield's Coast Scenery'.

Coloured print at Ash Rare Books of Dartmouth: https://bit.ly/3kGGh7h

There is further information on Stanfield on the website of the Eclectic Light Company: https://bit.ly/2PFl676

Trudy Sellers, Entry reviewed by Art UK

2 attachments

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The painting is now attributed to ‘R. Amor’, following a re-examination of the signature. There is speculation that this could be Robert Thomas Amor (1850–1886), ‘engineer's draughtsman, marine’ recorded in Limehouse, London in the 1871 census, although we have no evidence that he was a painter and the artist here.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.

29 comments

Jacinto Regalado,

Stanfield's 1836 Coast Scenery series consisted of forty subjects from both sides of the English Channel, engraved "from original drawings taken expressly for the work" according to the title page:

https://bit.ly/3h2awD2

Thus, the engraving was not after a painting, and the original drawing may be lost or untraced.

Jacinto Regalado,

The fact that Robert Thomas Amor was a marine draughtsman is obviously suggestive, since he may well have had a special interest in Stanfield's work and career.

Jacinto Regalado,

Why is this picture currently listed under "W. Assar"? Was that a misreading of the signature?

Jacinto Regalado,

The first letter of the signature (the purported "r") is hard to decipher. It would help to have a higher-resolution image.

Jacinto Regalado,

If both the first and the last letters of the signature represent an "r," especially if they are both lower case, they should look more similar to each other than they do (to my eye).

I believe 'W. Assar' is just a misreading of the signature. I can't get a sharper close-up from our image, but the collection may be able to send a better one.

Mark Wilson 01,

I'm not sure this needs anything much in the way of comments except a round of applause as all the work seems done. The only thing I would add is that the first 'R' and the 'A' of the signature are almost certainly capital letters - see the examples in this Palmer script for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_Method#/media/File:Palmer_Method_alphabet.jpg

though that is slightly later than this picture and American it represents a typical simplification of earlier cursive styles, which are taken a little further here with the flourish at the start of the R reduced to a nub.

As the 'Stanfield man' I can only add that I have never come across his original drawing for the 'Coast Scenery' plate copied here: if it did turn up I suspect it would not be one of his best. The very fine one for 'Dartmouth Castle', also in that publication, was no. 200 and illustrated in colour in the (English) catalogue of my and the late Roger Took's Stanfield show (Bonn and Sunderland) in 1979, lent from a private collection, and I've no recollection of seeing it pass through sale since.

Whether or not the 'Amor' who did the oil copy in 1877 is the engineering draughtsman or not, it's in effect a 'good amateur' item only so I doubt a body of other work by him will emerge.

Thank you everybody, this is a very informative discussion in under a week. I can only say that I agree the signature is Amor. I have seen many artists' signatures using what looks to our eyes like a lower case letter instead of a capital. Mark's link to the Palmer script backs this up nicely.

Before this closes, is the general view that it is ' r amor/ R Amor' rather than 'w amor/ W Amor'? I can't see a completely clear view above on that and am only sure of the 'Amor' bit myself.

I don't think we have enough information to attribute it to the London engineering draughtsman Robert Thomas Amor (1850-1886), though that such a man existed should be noted in case any other evidence for him being a painter and the artist here later emerges.

Jacinto Regalado,

If it cannot be determined with certainty, I suggest using "R. (or possibly W.) Amor" and adding a note to the entry mentioning Robert Thomas Amor.

Thanks Jacinto: that's a sensible option. I recommend we close the discussion and leave it with Marion for Art UK decision.

Just for incidental information I picked up a release yesterday that Sunderland Museum is borrowing a Turner for a show about 'castles' in which its huge Stanfield of 'The Castle of Ischia' (1841) will be included. It was a result of his 1838-9 tour as far as Naples (and the fact he got trapped on the island in fairly miserable conditions in bad weather over Christmas}. This picture turned up, unframed at Sotheby's Belgravia in 1982-reportedly out of the collection of Belgian railway magnate. I forget the estimate, though not huge but either Sunderland asked me, or I suggested, that they go for it. I also suggested £20,000 as a top limit -quite a lot at the time - and felt rather foolish when they obtained it for about £8,500. The size, of course, militated against it commercially. It looked good in the decent 19th-century frame they then found when I finally saw it there -about 20 years later! Definitely a colour plate for my book....

Louis Musgrove,

Signature- I see Marriot ?? Just me way of looking. :-)

Jacinto Regalado,

I assume it was engraved, Pieter, as it is perfect for that (or would have been when that was the thing).

Jacinto Regalado,

Goodall was very good. He was one of the Turner engravers.

Trudy, as you are collaborating with the collection on this question, could you discuss the proposed update with them please, then post the reply here?

Art UK proposes updating the artist record to 'R. Amor' and adding a note to the entry mentioning Robert Thomas Amor (1850-1886) and the further possibility that the signature is 'W. Amor'.

I am not sure of Sheena or Pieter have formally made a recommendation as group leaders (the icons suggest not) but I would be prepared to endorse a recommendation to attribute to an artist probably 'W. Amor' (I cannot see the first initial as an 'r' and am not even entirely convinced by the 'A'). I agree with the consensus that the artist was an amateur. But Robert Thomas Amor seems rather too speculative to me.

I did: see above 09/09/2020, 09:55 on the basis suggested by Jacinto immediately before of 'R. (or possibly W.) Amor', though I would be equally happy with 'W. (or possibly R.) Amor'.

Unfortunately the system does not seem to have recorded this as a recommendation. Sometimes groupleaders do not select the 'Group leader recommendation' option in the response type box.

Andrew, I can see that Pieter has posted a 'Group Leader recommendation to Art UK'.

This is subject to database options. I can record the artist as 'possibly W. Amor or possibly R. Amor' and note in the database that the latter could possibly refer to marine draughtsman Robert Thomas Amor.

For now, we are waiting for the collection's response.

Trudy Sellers,

Can I now confirm that Dartmouth Museum which holds the item, are happy to go with the suggestion in Marion Richard's post of 15.9.20, Jacinto Regalado's proposal originally, favouring R over W for the first name. Art Detective's debate has been most helpful and interesting.
We will alter our labelling on display, and our catalogue entry, accordingly.

Louis Musgrove,

Er- before you close things up- could I suggest you look at the works of Frederick Marriot. Quite a few of them have the same colour scheme as this painting- sort of misty pastels.
I still think the signature says " Marriot" despite no one else agreeing with me. Can't hurt to look :-) .

I can see what Louis means about the pastelly colours, but Marriott is a better artist than 'Amor'. I have not found a signature on a painting but they can be found on his mezzotints, which are easy to find online. Unfortunately nothing like that on our painting.