• Old Master & 19th Century Pain auction at Christies

    Sale 2282

    Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings, & Watercolors

    27 January 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 245

    Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (Mendham 1878-1959 Dedham)

    Gypsies on the Downs

    Price Realised  


    Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (Mendham 1878-1959 Dedham)
    Gypsies on the Downs
    signed 'A.J. MUNNINGS' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm.)

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    Munnings' interest in painting gypsies dated back to his introduction to it in 1913 when fellow artist Olive Branson mader her annual trip to Binstead, Hampshire to paint those who gathered there for the hop-picking (see lot 244). After World War I, Munnings also went to Epsom Downs and painted many pictures of gypsies as they were arriving for the Epsom Derby. He noted that little had changed from before the war, 'Nothing had changed. The same life on the same meadow. The same folk and caravans; with horses and dogs and chickens and children...The hill, the crowd on either side of the course; the gypsies, the caravans were Edwardian - Victorian - eighteenth century... A picturesque swarthy crowd, still retaining their carved-and-gilded caravans. The costumes of the women surpassed all dreams.' (A.J. Munnings, The Second Burst, Bungay, 1951, pp. 80-81).

    The woman standing can be identified as Mrs. Mark Stevens who modeled for a number of Munnings' pictures including Gypsy Life (London, Aberdeen Art Gallery) and Epsom Downs: City and Suburban Day (London, Tate Gallery), both of which were painted in September 1920. It is probable that this present work was painted at the same time as Mrs. Stevens is wearing the identical costume. A study of her is illustrated in the catalogue for the exhibition Alfred Munnings 1878-1959 at Manchester City Art Gallery, 1986, p. 44.

    This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Sir Alfred Munnings being prepared by Lorian Peralta-Ramos.


    with Richard Green, London, 1976.
    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 11 June 1976, lot 118.
    with Frost & Reed, London, from whom purchased 3 May 1977.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that parties with a financial interest may be bidding on this lot.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Middleburg, Red Fox Fine Art, Sir Alfred Munnings: an Exhibition of Thirty Paintings from Local Collections, 1-30 April 1987, no. 6.