The present work shows two of Munnings's favourite models from his early painting career. Nobby Gray, 'a wise old tinker' and part of the 'loafing fraternity not engaged in regular work' was a frequently used model for Munnings. 'He was a natty, wise-looking old bird, bald-pated and clean shaven ... never without his clay pipe. The Grays were van dwellers and travellers, who wintered in the meadow by the Red Lion [in Mendham where the Munnings family lived] and disappeared each summer to Woolpit in Suffolk with their swinging-boats, coconut and shooting gallery and used to come back later when I could make it worth their while. Old Gray - Nobby as he was called - was a real Suffolker ... [he and his family] loved posing, and better they loved seeing a sovereign or a pint of beer. I dare not begin to think about what I should have done without the Grays' (see A.J. Munnings, An Artist's Life, Bungay, 1950, pp. 112-113).
Augereau 'was the most picturesque of white ponies - an artist's ideal' and 'paid his keep and mine a thousandfold featuring in numerous paintings including The Ford series painted between 1907 and 1911' (ibid. pp. 199, 236). The pony was purchased, around 1907, from a Norwich horse dealer called James Drake, who became a procurer of equine models for Munnings. Munnings would often purchase a pony from Drake and after a few months would swap for another with the exception of Augereau who lived out his life at Munnings's family home at Mendham. The pony is illustrated in the top picture of The Ford in An Artist's Life opposite p. 192.
The present work will be included in the catalogue raisonné of Sir Alfred Munnings being prepared by Lorian Peralta-Ramos.