Sir Alfred Munnings exhibition coming to Newmarket this summer
- Credit: The estate of Sir Alfred Munnings Dedham Essex / British Sporting Art Trust
A major exhibition of Sir Alfred Munnings' work, described as "the most important" to date, is set to open in Newmarket.
Munnings was born in Mendham in 1878, and became known as one of the most popular artists of his generation with his work now selling for millions of pounds.
Munnings was renowned as one of England's greatest painters of horses, as well as horse racing and hunting, and was also a war artist with the Canadian Cavalry Brigade during the First World War.
The exhibition is made up of around 40 paintings, watercolours, and drawings spanning 60 years of the artist's career.
The selected works, curated by Katherine Field, help to tell the story of Munnings, from his early years working in rural Suffolk and Norfolk, up until his election as president of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1944.
The 'A Life of His Own' exhibition is currently on display in the Osborne Studio Gallery, in London until May 14, but will then make its way to the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket, from May 24 - June 12.
Sir Alfred Munnings' biographer, Tristram Lewis, said: "Son of a Suffolk miller, Munnings rose to become one of England’s greatest twentieth century artists, knowing fame and success, his writing, poetry and rhetorical manner would ensure a lifetime in the public eye. Overlooked for many years, since his death, by the art establishment, Munnings popularity today continues to surge as new generations discover his astonishing life’s work.
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"His exhibitions have always ignited excitement, rare opportunities to marvel at his jewel-like and whimsically glorious depictions of East Anglian country life in the first half of the 20th century."
London art dealer Richard Green said: "His subjects were the rural life of East Anglia, gypsies, farm labourers, the market place, the horse fair, the pet pony and comfortable country folk at their leisure.
"Munnings’ heart and mind were rooted in East Anglia in open landscape and high skies."
In the forward to the catalogue for the exhibition, Camilla, HRH, The Duchess of Cornwall, says: "I have been a lifelong admirer of this great artist both for his outstanding talent and for his instinctive understanding of the relationship between horse and human. He is, quite rightly, recognised as one of the finest equine painters this country, or indeed, the world, has ever seen."