Munnings loved his horses and claimed that he only ever sold four of them in his life, one of which was a brown thoroughbred mare whom he had purchased from Spelman's horse sale. The mare was used as a hack, hunter and, to earn her keep, an inspiration for his paintings. He later bred her to a premium sire in Penzance, not far from Lamorna where he was living and working, 'At the beginning of the war I gave the mare and foal to the farmer where she was turned out. I could not do such a thing today but a too passionate affection for horses may become a foolish obsession' (see A.J. Munnings, An Artist's Life, Bungay, 1950, p. 284).
In earlier years, Munnings had habitually painted various horses and ponies set in meadows, fields of gorse or sandpits north west of Norwich in the Ringland Hills. He experimented with the impressionist idea of painting en plein air, and capturing reflected light. With ease and confidence, Munnings has laid down paint in a combination of fluid lines and syncopated hieroglyphics rendering the sun's brilliance as it radiates off the background foliage and horse's coats. Choosing a limited palette with key notes of brilliant colour, he has maintained an atmospheric balance that transports the viewer into the warmth and sunshine of a serene summer's day. He has evoked the same freshness and spontaneity that the day itself brought to Munnings. It was days and painting moments such as this one, in which Munnings could allow his creativity free rein and enjoy and capture the world around him, that launched Munnings's reputation.
The present work will be included in the the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Sir Alfred Munnings being prepared by Lorian Peralta-Ramos.