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維多利亞時期、拉斐爾前派與英國印象派藝術

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Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S., P.R.
1878-1959
DECEMBER MORNING, CORNWALL
signed l.l.: A.J. MUNNINGS
oil on canvas
51 by 61cm., 20 by 24in.
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來源

James C. Hardy Esq., Sixthorne Hall, near Norwich;
Richard Green, London, until 1993;
Private collection;
Christie's, New York, 1 December 2006, lot 97, where purchased by the present owner

展覽

Norwich, Castle Museum, Alfred Munnings, 1928, no. 124

相關資料

In 1911 Alfred Munnings moved from Norfolk to Cornwall, seeking new inspiration for his art and perhaps also the camaraderie of the artist’s colony centring around Lamorna. 'In those days before motor traffic brought sight-seers and countless visitors to Cornwall, lodgings were cheap; farm butter and clotted cream were in abundance; no electric pylons or posts straddled the moors or lined the roads; no sounds of motor horns disturbing the villages; no great char-a-bancs took up the whole of a narrow road, forcing unfortunate people to retire to some wider space or pull in a gateway whilst they sailed past. All was serenity and peace.' (Alfred James. Munnings, An Artist's Life, 1950, pp. 275-6).

As an enthusiastic equestrian and hunter, following his move to Cornwall Munnings rode with the Western Foxhounds. The Master was Colonel William Bolitho and 'A few farmers, a dealer, a butcher, a doctor or two and a lawyer made up the field - all the best of friends' (Munnings, op. cit., p. 285). The lively Foxhounds with their patchwork variety of brown, white and black markings and the red-coated riders mounted on sturdy hunting ponies inspired a series of paintings set against the gorse-clad moorland and Cornwall's mist-veiled woods. 

Munnings rarely depicted horses and riders from the front, usually choosing a side-on angle. In December Morning, Cornwall Munnings very successfully managed to depict the drama and movement of the oncoming animals and rider from a difficult view-point. It seems that he may have been inspired by the success of another Cornish resident, Lucy Kemp Welch's masterpiece Colt Hunting in the New Forest (Tate). He used the same perspective in 1913 for Hunting Morning (Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum, Dedham) and also in Going to the Meet (Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne). In December Morning, Cornwall Munnings added the dramatic element of the  brilliant ray of raking light from a winter sun low in the morning sky, penetrating the gap between a high-sided stone wall. The shadow from the horse and rider adds to the movement of the scene.

The horse in December Morning, Cornwall was Munnings’ grey mare, bought in 1913. He had made £850, a considerable amount of money, from a successful exhibition at the Leicester Galleries that spring. 'Being smitten with the hunting in that western end of Cornwall, with what were known as the Western Foxhounds, I determined to buy a grey horse.' (op. cit., p. 282). He therefore went to Ireland in the company of his old Norwich friend, Richard Bullard to find a suitable horse. An Irish horse dealer named John Milady assisted Munnings by studying the catalogue for a sale at Sewell's livestock auction and marking a few horses that he thought would be good purchases; 'The next day lot so and so, described as "grey mare, 15.2 hands, six years old", put into the sale by the executors of a late judge who had driven her in his brougham, was bought for me by Milady for thirty-three guineas' (op. cit., p. 283).

Shortly after the new grey mare was debuted on the hills of Cornwall, Munnings’ fellow hunters showed their appreciation; 'Autumn came with the first meet of the Western Hounds. I remember riding the grey mare to one of these and how Colonel Willy Bolitho, then Master, said to me, "Where do you get your horses, Munnings?" There was no doubt she was the sort they liked in Cornwall - not too large, strong, active and short in the leg..."She's a good 'un," said the Master - and so she was.' In Ireland Munnings had also purchased a bay horse and 'with these two entirely fresh models, and using Red House Moor and the adjoining Trevelloe Wood as a painting-ground, I began a series of pictures.' (op. cit., pp. 284-85).

 

Munnings’ human model for the series of hunting pictures was usually a Cornish boy named Ned Osborne. 'I found a new lad, a primitive Cornish youth. Ned was the name of this simple soul, who grew into a useful combination of groom-model and posed for many a picture. [he] ... had the right-coloured face and figure for a scarlet coat and a black cap. Often did the patient fellow sit as model for me, and he liked it.' (op. cit., pp.272-73).

維多利亞時期、拉斐爾前派與英國印象派藝術

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