Miss Maingey made a sketchbook of landscape drawings under Towne’s guidance, which sheds light on Towne’s work as a drawing master. Iolo Williams suggests that Miss Maingey’s name, written in the book, was inscribed by Towne and corrected around the same time. However, although the handwriting is eighteenth century, it does not appear to be Towne’s; the correction seems modern. The Maingey name does not come from Devon, but a family to which it may be connected was long established in Guernsey by Miss Maingey’s lifetime. Nicholas Maingy (1730–1823) was one of the island’s richest inhabitants, who in 1783 built The Mount, now Government House. Perhaps Miss Maingey was one of the daughters of his nephew Revd Peter Maingy (1743–1826): Mary (1769–1844), Judith (1772–1827), and Ann (1776–1865). However, the Maingy family history is well researched, and although spellings including ‘Maingay’ and ‘Mainguy’ are known, there is no record of the variant ‘Maingey’ in the eighteenth century.1
Several of the drawings in the Miss Maingey sketchbook can be identified as copies. Two (FT843, FT851) are after plates from the 1776 Twelve Original Views in Italy, drawn by Richard Wilson etched by Joseph Farington, Rooker &c. &c., which Towne used elsewhere in his teaching (FT803, FT863). Two more are after Claude Lorrain (FT850) and Annibale Caracci (FT854) from Recueil de 283 estampes, gravées à l’eau-forte par les plus habiles peintres du tems, d’après les desseins des grands maistres, que possédait autrefois M. Jabach et qui depuis sont passés au Cabinet du Roi (Paris, 1754) by J. Marot (see also FT788, FT865). Both of these are very likely copied from Towne’s own adaptations, given the variations from the originals. Likewise, the Villa Adriana copy after the print after Wilson (FT851) may well be a copy of a further intermediary drawing by Towne; for despite Miss Maingey’s fidelity to the print, there are modifications in detail, such as the presence of four stones set into the left of the arch (rather than three), and the road and second building in the distance (which are absent from the print). Another, unidentified, pupil also copied the same Caracci etching as Miss Maingey, adapted in the same way (FT865), which argues strongly that the common source of both was a drawing by Towne, now lost.
Three of the drawings are copies of Towne’s own work (FT845 after FT792, FT848 after FT793, FT852 after FT794). There are strong reasons for believing that at least four of the remaining drawings (FT844, FT846, FT847, FT853) are also copies of tutorial drawings Towne made, which are now lost, as they all follow Towne’s compositional signature and pen and wash style, something that Miss Maingey’s copy of after Wilson (FT851) shows she was well able to disregard if need be. These drawings are interspersed with known copies, and Miss Maingey’s addition of washline mounts around three of the four is a further indication that their sources were drawings Towne had mounted ready for loan to his pupils. The source for FT847 is unknown, but another pupil’s version survives (FT840), doubtless copied from the same Towne drawing that Miss Maingey used.
- 1 See Mainguy 2003.
- Article title
- Miss Maingey
- Article DOI
- Cite as
- "Miss Maingey", A Catalogue Raisonné of Francis Towne (1739-1816), (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.17658/towne/s5e3
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