Pastoral artists at auction

By William Gregory MRICS, Golding Young and Mawer
A pencil sketch by the celebrated equine artist Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959) titled Soapy Sponge sold for £1,300 at the recent Lincoln Fine Art sale.

Munnings was born in Mendham, Suffolk in 1878 to a farming family. At 14 he was apprenticed to a Norwich printer and began designing advertising posters for Colman’s mustard and AJ Caley & Son chocolate while attending art school. Going on to become a professional painter, Munnings’ childhood influenced his paintings, in which rural scenes dominate.

His impressionist style of painting and atmospheric use of subject matter led to the frequent exhibition of his paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) and various commissions both during and after the war, most notably from the Canadian War Memorials Fund which asked him to paint the men of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and the Canadian Forestry Corps.

Following the war Munnings made his fortune as a society painter. He was elected president of the RA in 1944.

Other pastoral works similarly sold well, such as a farmyard scene depicting horses, ducks and chickens by John Frederick Herring (1815-1907) which realised £1,700.

At Pasture Near Canterbury by Thomas Sidney Cooper sold for £5,800, and a work by Norfolk artist John Emms (1843-1912) attained £1,900. Work by Peter Brannan (1926-1994), known for his depictions of the Lincolnshire landscape, also featured; an oil on board titled verso Lincolnshire Coast painted in 1975 sold for £1,100.

An artist signed limited edition print by US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, titled Sunday Afternoon sold well above the £500-£800 estimate at £1,800. Similarly two works by the celebrated Lancastrian artist LS Lowry (1887-1976), Britain at Play and The Pond, sold above auction estimate for £4,000 each.

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