Sir Alfred Munnings
Alfred Munnings was born into a miller’s family at Mendham,Suffolk, on October 8th, 1878. At fourteen he was apprenticed to a Norwich printer, designing and drawing advertising posters
over six years. In his spare time he attended the Norwich School of Art.
When his term of apprenticeship was up, he threw himself wholeheartedly into making his way as
a painter. He frequently painted rural scenes, gypsies, and horses. Art dealers and connoisseurs noted him as a promising painter; his works sold well and from 1899 on wards they were hung occasionally in the Royal Academy.
The First World War initially complicated his life. He preferred to paint outdoors, an activity that
then required an official permit from spy-conscious bureaucrats. Even with this document, an
artist sketching outdoors risked falling under suspicion of being an enemy agent. Money for art
purchases dried up.
Alfred Munnings attempted to enlist in a Hampshire regiment, even offering the army two horses that he owned in the hope he would be accepted. In 1917, he secured a position examining remounts at Calcot Park, near Reading, Berkshire. Horses, many of them arriving from Canada, were checked for diseases and parasites, treated, then sent off to artillery, cavalry, or supply units.
After the war Alfred Munnings was elected president of the Royal Academy Of Art in 1944. His presidency is best known for the valedictory speech he gave in 1949, in which he attacked modernism. The broadcast was heard by millions of listeners to BBC radio. An evidently inebriated Munnings claimed that the work of Cézanne, Mattisse and Picasso had corrupted art. He recalled that Winston Churchill had once said to him, “Alfred, if you met Picasso coming down the street would you join with me in kicking his.. something something?” to which Munnings said he replied, “Yes Sir, I would”. He was awarded a knighthood in 1944. He died at Castle House, Dedham, Essex on 17 July 1959. After his death, his wife turned their home in Dedham into a museum of his work. The village pub in Mendham is named after him, as is a street there.
There is also a book ( by Jonathan Smith) AND a film about him and his first wife called Summer In February ( the book and movie have the same title) It just came out last year!! The link to the trailer and the link for his Museum is at the bottom of this post!
Here is some of his beautiful equine art work!!!
**I have a special treat for those of you that have enjoyed this post on Friday! See you then:)