signed and dated l.r.: A. J. Munnings 1912
Given as a gift to Jill and Geoffrey Garnier by the artist and thence by descent
Alfred Munnings was a handsome and well-dressed man who attracted much attention from the young ladies of Newlyn when he first arrived in Cornwall in 1908. His Trewarveneth studio quickly became central to the social whirl of the town and no congenial gathering was complete without him. He boasted in his autobiography that he had ‘organised more parties, picnics, outings and Christmas festivities than anyone in the country.’ One of the artists that he met soon after arriving in Cornwall was Florence Edith Carter-Wood, who was visiting her brother Joey a student at Stanhope Forbes’ painting school. Florence, or ‘Blote’ as Munnings called her, was a talented artist and exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery and at the Royal Academy. She was tall, fair and beautiful with deep blue eyes and Munnings soon fell in love with her. They were married in 1912 and settled at Cliff House at Lamorna.
It is probable that the present picture was painted in the garden at Cliff House or on the nearby road through Lamorna Valley, known as Rocky Lane. A contemporary portrait of her riding her favourite horse, known as The Morning Ride (private collection) is also said to have painted here and has a very similar background. The present picture captures the diffused light of the setting sun glimmering through trees in full leaf and it is possible that Munnings regarded it as a contrast to the various portraits he painted of Florence entitled The Morning Ride which are lit by the clearer light of the morning.
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