Sir Alfred Munnings
Sir Alfred Munnings has long since been hailed as one of the greatest equine artists of all times. On 14 November 2012 an exhibition of his work went on show at The Richard Green Gallery in Bond Street, London. Early next year a feature film entitled Summer in February is due to be released, it tells the story of the early part of Munnings career including his tragic love affair with his first wife Florence, famously depicted in the painting Two Lady Riders Under An Evening Sky. The equestrian fraternity who has long since recognized the brilliant way in which Munnings painted horses is avidly awaited the release of the film which stars Dominic Cooper as Munnings and Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame, as his friend Gilbert Evans. The producer of the film, Jeremy Cowdrey, has expressed surprise that no such similar film has ever been made, he explained ‘Munnings as a personality and character was so interesting and lively he bounced off the pages of the novel and Dominic Cooper who plays him in the film, just bounces off the screen’. Here at Equestrian Escapes we just can’t wait, Downton Abbey and horses, does it get much better!
The Sir Aldred Munnings Art Museum in Dedham Essex has lent 25 works to the Richard Green Gallery for the exhibition currently showing in London, including Miss Millicent Baron on Magpie, arguably one of the best examples of Manning’s work that first demonstrated his true understanding of the personality and anatomy of a fine horse (and lady!). In addition to his paintings of beautiful horses and ladies set in spectacular English countryside Munnings was also employed as the official World War 1 war artist to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. During the war he painted many scenes, including a mounted portrait of General Jack Seely entitled Warrior in 1918 (now in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa). He bravely worked on his canvases close to the German front lines and even came under shell fire as his unit was forced into a hasty withdrawal. In 1918 he painted Charge of Flowerdew’s Squadron in what has become known as “the last great cavalry charge” here Gordon Flowerdew was posthumous awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in this successful engagement with entrenched German forces.
Munnings who died in 1959 aged 80 enjoyed an outstanding career and will no doubt be associated with equine painting for many generations to come. If you would like to ride in the beautiful English countryside in the footsteps of Munnings join us on one of our carefully designed horse riding holidays