Munnings first settled in Newlyn, Cornwall in 1911. Much of the work he produced there is of the countryside and the hunting fraternity. The present view of Polperro is therefore unusual in its subject matter and specific location, and is closer to the work of the Newlyn School painters, Stanhope Forbes and Harold Harvey. The Old Pier Steps (1911, Bradford Art Galleries and Museum) by Stanhope Forbes features a very similar row of boats against a harbour wall.
One can see that the appeal of the view is the reflection in the water. Munnings was particularly inspired by the challenge of capturing the impression of the evening lights on the shimmering harbour water. Growing up on the Waveney River, he was always drawn to water and was a member of the Yare and Bure Sailing Club. Such was his passion for sailing that he writes of the difficulty of choosing between a day at Epsom Downs or sailing in a fine boat in good weather conditions (A. J. Munnings, An Artist's Life, Bungay, 1950, p.101).
We are grateful to Lorian Peralta Ramos for her help in preparing this catalogue entry. This collection will be included in her forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of the work of Sir Alfred Munnings.