Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1878-1959)
Property from the Collection of Mrs. Elizabeth R. Moran
SIR ALFRED JAMES MUNNINGS, P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1878-1959)

The Seventh Earl of Bathurst, M.F.H. of the V.W.H. with Will Boore, Huntsman

SIR ALFRED JAMES MUNNINGS, P.R.A., R.W.S. (British, 1878-1959)
The Seventh Earl of Bathurst, M.F.H. of the V.W.H. with Will Boore, Huntsman
signed 'A. J. Munnings' (lower left)
oil on canvas
38 x 40 ½ in. (96.5 x 102.9 cm.)
Painted circa 1921.
Seymour Henry Bathurst, 7th Earl Bathurst, CMG, TD, JP, DL (1864-1943), the sitter, commissioned from the artist.
with Frost and Reed, London.
Private collection, New York.
Their sale; Christie's, New York, 30 October 1985, lot 332, as The Seventh Earl of Bathurst with his Hounds and Huntsman, Will Boore at Kilkenny.
G. Mair, 'The Art of Mr. A. J. Munnings, A.R.A.' The Studio, An Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art, vol. 87, no. 374, May 1924, p. 246, illustrated, as The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Bathurst.
Sir A. J. Munnings, The Second Burst, London, 1951, p. 230.
Hon. G. Bathurst, 'A Man and His Century,' The Field, 22 November 1952, p. 891, illustrated.
Norwich, Norwich Castle Museum, Loan Collection of Pictures Illustrating the Work of Alfred J. Munnings, R.A., 16 August-30 September 1928, no. 203, as Portrait of the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Bathurst with the V.W.H. hounds.
Louisville, Kentucky Derby Museum, organized by Frost & Reed Ltd., Exhibition of Fine Sporting Paintings, 22 April-6 May 1986, no. 1, illustrated on the cover.
Saratoga Springs, NY, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, The Mastery of Munnings, 8 July-4 September 2000, pp. 37-38, unnumbered.
Chadds Ford, PA, Brandywine River Museum, Alfred J. Munnings from Regional Collections, 6 June-1 September 2008, as The Seventh Earl of Bathurst.
Middleburg, VA, National Sporting Library and Museum, Munnings: Out in the Open: The Open-Air Works of Sir Alfred James Munnings, 24 April-15 September 2013, pp. 51, 62-63, 128, pl. 38, illustrated.

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Lot Essay

By the early 1920s Munnings had established a growing practice as a portrait painter, earning regular commissions each year to paint Masters of hounds, huntsmen, and various notables on horseback. As Munnings mused in his autobiography ‘I have often wondered had there been no 1914-18 war whether painting people on horseback would have absorbed the best part of my efforts in the years that followed.’ (A. J. Munnings, The Second Burst, London, 1951, p. 137).
In January 1918 Munnings was commissioned by Lord Beaverbrook's Canadian War Memorials Fund to paint the actions of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade on the Western Front. For several months, he immortalized their activities in a series of fluid plein air studies, including a number of equestrian portraits of the officers, most memorably Major-General the Right Hon. Jack Seely on his horse Warrior. These portraits were shown at the Royal Academy in January 1919 alongside his Canadian War records, to great acclaim, and probably hastened his election as an A.R.A. later that year. In the summer exhibition of that year Munnings included a portrait of Lord Athlone in uniform on horseback, where it was prominently displayed in the first room. This led to many commissions which continued to preoccupy the artist until the outbreak of the Second World War.
In the second volume of his autobiography Munnings recalls one such painting of the Earl of Bathurst and his hounds. As was his practice during this period, Munnings painted the portrait of Lord Bathurst during sittings in his studio in Glebe Place, Chelsea. He then travelled to the Earl’s seat at Cirencester Park in order to capture the horses and hounds that completed the scene. As well as sketching the animals Munnings painted the figure of the Earl’s huntsman, Will Boore, who posed on a wooden horse in the large library on a pouring wet day. The final setting for the background was Kilkenny Farm with its distinctive stone walls, as shown beyond the huntsment and hounds.
Described by the artist as ‘the most modest person I have ever met’ and ‘a dear, kind man’ (Munnings, op. cit., p. 230), the 7th Earl of Bathurst took over as Master of the Vale of the White Horse Hunt in 1892 upon the death of his father, and continued in his position for the next 51 seasons until his death in 1943. The famous pack of hounds bred by Bathurst in the kennels at Cirencester Park were his ‘life’, so much so that he went on to publish a book on the subject, The Breeding of Foxhounds in 1926.
We are grateful to Lorian Peralta-Ramos, Tristram Lewis and the Curatorial staff at The Munnings Museum for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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