Sir Alfred James Munnings
1878 - 1959Munnings was born on October 8th, 1878 in Mendham, Suffolk. Although blinded in one eye at the age of 20 he went on to become an artist of world renown and President of the Royal Academy, London. Alongside Stubbs, Munnings is regarded as one of the two great English masters of Sporting Art.
Starting out as an apprentice at a Norfolk lithographers between 1893 and 1898, he trained as an artist, attending the Académie Julien in Paris in 1902/3 before moving to Newlyn, Cornwall in 1911. He was sent as a war artist to France towards the end of World War 1. In 1919 Munnings moved to Castle House in Dedham where he lived until his death in 1959. In the 1920s his reputation grew and in 1926 he was elected to the Royal Academy, having first exhibited there in 1898. He was elected President in 1944.
Munnings is best known for his studies of horses, an apt subject for someone brought up in Suffolk with its long associations with the development of the horse. His works between 1898 and 1920 provide an excellent record of the way of life of rural England. From 1920 onwards his reputation as an equine artist became international, travelling worldwide to complete commissions for many of the most famous racehorse owners.