Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)
Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)
Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)
Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more THE B.J. EASTWOOD COLLECTION: IMPORTANT SPORTING AND IRISH ART
Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)

Going out at Kempton

Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959)
Going out at Kempton
signed 'A.J. MUNNINGS' (lower right)
oil on canvas
19 ¼ x 30 in. (48.9 x 76.2 cm.)
Painted circa 1936-7.
Samuel B. Eckert, Goshenville, Pennsylvania (†); Sotheby's, New York, 17 April 1974, lot 176.
with Roy Miles Fine Painting, London, where acquired for the present collection.
A. J. Munnings, The Finish, London, 1952, comparable version illustrated after p. 56.
A. Edelstein (ed.), Art at Auction 1973-4, London, 1974, p. 85.
S. Booth, Sir Alfred Munnings 1878-1959, London, 1978, pp. 218-219.
London, The Leicester Galleries, The English Scene: Horses, Racing, Landscapes and Studies by Sir Alfred J. Munnings, P.R.A., October - November 1947, no 18.
London, Sotheby's, An English Idyll: A loan exhibition of works by Sir Alfred Munnings, 5 - 25 January 2001, no. 119.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Whilst the majority of Munnings’s Starts depict the broad, open heathland of the course at Newmarket (see lot 4), he made smaller groups of parade and start pictures at other courses, in each case realising the importance of finding the identifying features that established the character of each track. Kempton Park was established in 1878 on a large country estate close to Hampton Court on the outskirts of London. Famed for its steeplechases and winter racing calendar, Kempton Park differed from Newmarket or Epsom in its encircling stands of trees that had been preserved when the courses were laid out.

In Going out at Kempton Munnings sets the horses and jockeys against the course’s distinctive wooded backdrop. With the sky almost closed off by the large trees, Munnings darkens the colour key of the painting and creates a striking contrast between the green surround and the shining horses and glossy silks. By using a low view of the parade - he worked from the steps of an old paddock – Munnings allows the viewer to enter the paddock with him in order to assess the quality of the mounts before they go down to the start. This unique perspective also lends an edge of humour to the painting as the grooms are almost entirely blocked from view by their magnificent charges.

The picture probably dates to around 1936 or 1937. A racecard from Kempton in January 1937, now in the collection of The Munnings Museum, shows a number of rapid pencil sketches of the paddock with a note from Lady Munnings stating they were used by her husband ‘for his pictures’. A comparable study on panel from 1936 also helps date the present work.

When the painting was sold in 1974 there were two accompanying letters from Munnings to the then owner, Mr Samuel B. Eckert, dated 11 February and 14 April 1954. These mentioned that there were two versions of the picture, but that this one was sold immediately after the 1947 Leicester Galleries exhibition to a Glasgow dealer. The other version, which measured 24 ½ x 30 in., remained in Munnings’s studio until it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1958. It was then purchased by E.H. Hammond who subsequently sold the picture along with four other Munnings at Sotheby’s, London in December 1958. Chosen as one of the black and white illustrations that peppered Munnings’s memoirs, it was accompanied by some lines from Munnings’s 1939 diary recalling a similar day at Sandown: ‘The usual thing – rugged horses being led round in striped blankets, paddock-sheets, and then stripped. … Thought how well they looked going out.’ (A.J. Munnings, The Finish, London, 1952, p. 47).

We are grateful to the Curatorial staff at The Munnings Art Museum for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.
This work will be included in Tradition and Modernity: the Works of Sir Alfred Munnings by Lorian Peralta-Ramos to be published 2022.

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