Sir Alfred James Munnings

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Sir Alfred James Munnings KCVO, PRA 1878-1959

Paintings by Munnings are familiar to all. Their colour and bravura reflect the the authors character.

As a young man , Munnings was apprenticed to a Norwich firm of lithographers where he learn t, in particular bold colour in poster work. He also attended night school at the Norwich School of Art , the Atelier Julian in Paris and spent some time among the Newlyn group of artists.

At the beginning of the First World War he served with the remount depot at Reading under Cecil Aldin (qv). Later in 1918 he became the official War Artist to the Canadian  Cavalry Brigade He successful portrayal of Major General Seeley led to many commissions for equestrian portraits after the war, these were mainly from the hunting fraternity.

He next turned to the turf where he was attracted by the excitement and again the bright colours, and opportunities to paint scenes under the summer skies. An association of the print publishers Messrs Frost & Reed of Bristol started in 1924 from where a steady flow of reproductions  continued shortly before his death.

Little need to be spoken about Sir Alfred’s tenure as president of the Royal Academy, except of outspoken to the dislike of the work of many of modern artists and their inexplicable pictures unfortunately led to a reaction to sporting painting by the art world, which still exists today.

A larger than life man, Munnings ability to paint horses and the countryside approached in his own style,those of Stubbs and Constable rolled into one. He died at his home, Castle House, Dedham (now the Art Museum of his work) in his beloved Suffolk in 1959.

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