This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Sir Alfred Munnings being prepared by Lorian Peralta-Ramos.
Sir Alfred Munnings is generally considered the foremost horse painter of the 20th century, just as George Stubbs was in the 18th century, but for both artists that distinction only half describes their work. Both men painted the Horse, and while Stubbs approached painting the equine (and human) figure with a scientist/anatomist's eye, Munnings saw the equine figure in the context of its surroundings, a method absorbed from impressionist theory. Capturing ever-changing light effects and its affect on an object's colour were the ultimate goal and Munnings chose the equine figure to describe his response to light.
From 1907 to 1911, Munnings would often take a small coterie of ponies and wagons filled with painting paraphernalia and travel throughout Norfolk seeking perfect painting spots. Whether in fields, under trees or open sandpits as in the present work, Munnings would arrange the ponies as the focal point in a composition, but his main theme was the sparkle of light that radiates throughout the canvas.
Here the sunshine glimmers off the foreground gorse bushes and top line of the pony's back leading our eye to the hillside vegetation. Despite the wind that blows the pony's tail and mane, which is also emphasized by the yellow dabs of colour of the fluttering gorse, the pony seems nestled in the warm embrace of its protected haven. Employing impressionist colour theory of reflective light, Munnings has used the underlying yellow to unify the entire scene.