In 1940 Munnings's home, Castle House in Dedham, was requisitioned and occupied by the army. He and his wife went to live in their hunting lodge at Withypool on Exmoor until 1944 when he was elected as President of the Royal Academy.
On Exmoor he painted the landscape and the wild poines, the remote emptiness of the moorland and the elusive herds of ponies providing inspiration for him. Accompanied by his groom, Munnings would ride out in the mornings onto the moors to search for them and then Munnings would hand the reins of his horse over saying, 'Come about five o'clock and find me ... Standing there alone, two or three suspicious mares stare at me, ready to trot off, whilst I pretend to look the other way, and walked nearer to them backwards. Then, sitting down, I would wait. At last the mother, seeing I was harmless, resumed grazing, whilst I stood up, crept nearer and began to work ... The ponies, the little foals with white legs, made designs at whichever angle I approached. Hours fled by' (see A.J. Munnings, The Finish, Bungay, 1952, pp. 108-115).
This work will be included in Lorian Peralta-Ramos's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Sir Alfred James Munnings.