The present work is a study for Autumn Tapestry (Sotheby's London, 19 June 1974, lot 86). It depicts one of Munnings's favourite early models, Nobby Gray, 'I had discovered in the past what a figure Gray made in a scarlet coat on a horse. Again he played the part for me when St. Martin's Summer blazed out and the sun shone on the scarlet coat and yellow autumn trees. As Gray sat and blew his horn for me:
"Shall I blow agin?" he'd say.
"Yes, for God's sake, blow!" said I.'
(see A.J. Munnings, An Artist's Life, Bungay, 1950, pp. 247-48, c.f. pl. opp. p. 193).
Munnings's own experiences in the hunting field provided him with endless artistic inspirations. The present study, however, is a more classical composition with the huntsman breaking out of cover, the hounds busy around the horse's legs. The typical pose allows the artist to focus not on the event but on the complexities of the light and shade.
Munnings was fascinated by the effects of light, particularly the light's reflection off the horse's coat and the shadows the horse is casting. Here one can see that he has broken down the colour of the horse's coat into choppy brushstrokes ranging from golden-orange through burgundy into an almost navy blue. The rest of the paintwork is wildly impressionistic, to the extent that the hounds are barely imperceptible, with abstract dashes of colour they just give the illusion of movement. Not content with the application of paint, Munnings also uses the end of his brush to scrape the wet paint away, creating the reins and bridle. It is only when the viewer steps back that the figures are formed and take shape.