Tom Monnington PRA

We had a visit this morning from the son of Tom Monnington PRA, a realist painter who was trained at the Slade by Henry Tonks, turned to geometrical abstraction after the war and was elected President of the Royal Academy in 1966 (as became clear from the minutes of his election, by only a narrow margin over Carel Weight):-

My impression is that Monnington began the modernisation of the RA, by encouraging public visits to what had previously been treated as a purely private institution, celebrating its 200th. anniversary with an exhibition on the Bauhaus, and, not least, encouraging Bryan Kneale to do the exhibition British Sculptors ’72, a landmark.

These were his notes for speeches:-


4 thoughts on “Tom Monnington PRA

  1. marinavaizey says:

    IN my view as an outsider, observing from the periphery, but coming to every public exhibition over the Monnington years, the most amazing and at the time thought to be dreadfully risky which seems ridiculous from our perspective now was the great Turner exhibition (1975?) It was evidently the first time, please correct me if I am wrong, that the whole piano nobile was given up to a single BRITISH artist alive or dead for a monographic exhibition. Tom Monnington was incredibly anxious about what he perceived as the risk, but determined. I had a wonderful hour or so before it opened going round with the PRA, and he told me of his (financial) anxieties on behalf of the RA. One peer I remember had only lent his great Turner on the proviso that it came home for Christmas. The show transformed the world view of Turner. I thought him then (and now) a remarkable PRA, undersung then and certainly now in his quiet modernising way. He was also a wonderful draughtsman.
    Seasonal greetings, and best wishes for your new ventures, and thank you for the blo.

      • marinavaizey says:

        The Age of Neo-Classicism was a wonder; I think Hugh Honour and John Fleming were inspired curators, with a related exhibition at the V and A. It was a Council of Europe exhibition – remember those? whatever happened to them?

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