Although the horses cannot be identified, Munnings has painted the central horse on other occasions and the initials on the rug 'J.V.R.' are those of Mr. James V. Rank. Mr. Rank owned numerous good racehorses and in 1934 he bought the famous Druids Lodge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, and hired Noel Cannon as his private trainer. Rank commissioned Munnings to undertake a large painting entitled Horse Conversation Piece: Mr. J.V. Rank's Three Horses, Southern Hero, Black Speck, and Knights Armour, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1948, no. 212. In the course of painting this he also did many associated studies and sketches of Mr. Rank's horses and he returned to Druid's Lodge in 1949.
Munnings returned to this composition in a later work depicting three of H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II's horses, Corporal, Bisquit and Aureole, painted at Boyd-Rochfort's stables at Newmarket circa 1953.
This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Sir Alfred Munnings being prepared by Lorian Peralta-Ramos.