Munnings wrote in his autobiography,
'Writing of the collector's sale of my pictures to the dealer reminds me that one of these was a water-colour called The Piper, which was hung at the Academy, and which he bought for forty guineas. The collector's wife would not allow him to part with the water-colour, and the deal being a strict business one, he had to buy it back at the dealer's price of two hundred. Again the dealer scored'.
The Piper was executed in Cornwall with Norfolk memories in mind. The central figure was a Scottish piper in kilts. The men dancing and others looking on, the horses, fair background and the Bell Inn were all imaginary, and drawn from Norfolk inspirations. It might be called a nostalgic picture. This is how it started.
'I was painting at the time in a large studio on a farm at Paul above Newlyn. A friend, Seal Weatherby, had looked in. The glass doors into the garden were wide open, and we heard far-away sounds entirely foreign to those parts.
"Hullo," said Weatherby, "what's that?" as we ran out into the garden. "Bagpipes!" he yelled. "He's over there; let's find him."
Off we went, through the garden into the meadow and over the first wall. Hurrying across three or four more enclosures, taking walls and banks in style, we were soon on the road leading to Paul, and still the sound of bagpipes! We ran down the road, and behold, there was a Scottish piper in full dress, his be-ribboned pipes sticking out behind, his cheeks blowing. In tartan plaids, sporran, stockings and all, he was slowly patrolling along, making his skirling music. Weatherby accosted him. In broad Scotch he told us he had been in the Black Watch. There and then we persuaded him to come up the road to the studio and pose. We gave him a drink, stood him on the throne, and Weatherby, seizing a canvas, started away on a life-sized head and shoulders. I can see him now - he painted with his tongue sticking out of his mouth. I took a long-shaped canvas and painted the piper as a small figure in the middle of the picture, suggesting other figures above him. This went on all day, and the man had food and drink. He came next morning - a grand fellow, pure Scotch and an excellent model.
The canvas was completed later and bought by a doctor, who afterwards bequeathed it to the Art Gallery at Stoke-on-Trent. The water-colour was copied from this painting. After drawing every figure in pencil, all was done in direct washes, using no body-colour at all. It was a picture that went well, as artists would say.' (A.J. Munnings, An Artist's Life, Bungay, 1950, pp. 292-293).
This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Sir Alfred Munnings being prepared by Lorian Peralta-Ramos.