SIR ALFRED JAMES MUNNINGS, P.R.A., R.W.S., P.R. | SPRINGTIME, APPLE BLOSSOM WITH A MARE AND FOAL
Estimate: 80,000 - 120,000 GBP
SIR ALFRED JAMES MUNNINGS, P.R.A., R.W.S., P.R.
SPRINGTIME, APPLE BLOSSOM WITH A MARE AND FOAL
signed and dated l.r.: A. J. Munnings/ 1906
oil on canvas
63 by 76cm., 25 by 30in.
Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.
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This picture is unlined and the original canvas is providing a stable structural support. There are localized areas of fine craquelure in the darkest areas. The picture is clean and ready to hang.
UNDER ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT
The varnish is a little opaque and has been cleaned around the signature, probably so that the signature can be read more easily.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Richard Green Gallery, London;
Christie's, London, 5 November 1999, lot 68;
Frost & Reed, London;
Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Cornwall, 2019
Sunshine bathes this bucolic rural scene. Beneath the dappled sunlight shining through the blossom and leaves of an apple orchard, two ponies and poultry are taking advantage of the lush growth of the pasture where golden buttercups dot the verdant grass. Springtime, Apple Blossom with a Mare and Foal was painted in the spring of 1906 and in the same months that Munnings painted Springtime - Polly Scotchmer of the Red Lion Inn, Mendham (Bonhams, New York, 30 April 2019, lot 70).
After completing a six-year apprenticeship at the Norwich firm of lithographers, Page Brothers, the twenty-year-old Munnings returned to his family home at Mendham with the ambition to become a professional painter. This aim was almost halted when he was blinded in one eye by a thorn in a freak accident while helping a dog through a thicket. As he recuperated, he focused on painting scenes around his native village of Mendham using the local residents and their animals as his models. His pictures at this time have a delightful intimacy as he was paintings the scenes he had been surrounded by all his life. As the son of an East Anglian miller, he grew up with horses used for hauling grain wagons and carriages. In the first years of the twentieth century he embraced the traditional simplicity of the way of the life of the Norfolk farmers and gypsies, their animals and the picturesque lanes and fields of East Anglia. Modernisation was fast encroaching on this rural existence, bringing mechanized ways of farming to replace the toil of the people and animals and sweep away many of the ancient customs. Munnings became highly sensitive to the changes and sought to record them before they disappeared. Munnings was committed to the principals of plein air painting that had been extolled by the Impressionists and the artists they inspired and his spontaneity is evidenced in the broad expressive brushstrokes in the present painting which suggest movement of the blossom in the trees and the grass stirred by gentle spring breezes.The warmth of golden sunshine envelopes the scene, illuminating the greens of the vegetation and the lustre of the horses’ coats. Springtime, Apple Blossom with a Mare and Foal shares similarities with Sunny June of 1901 (Castle Museum, Norwich) which Munnings sold to James Reeve, Curator of the Norwich Castle Museum in 1902 for £85 which the twenty-three year old artist considered a vast fortune. Both pictures depict a chestnut mare and her foal surrounded by wildflowers and blossom.
Springtime, Apple Blossom with a Mare and Foal was formerly owned by the famous jockey Lester Piggot.