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Sir Alfred James Munnings was born in Mendham, Suffolk in 1878. Joining a firm of lithographers as apprentice from 1893 to 1898, Munnings went on to study at the Norwich School of Art and set up his own studio in Mendham where he remained until 1911. He then moved to Cornwall and joined the Newlyn School, and later settled in Lamorna, where he became a good friend of Harold and Laura Knight.

Munnings is famed for his scenes of country life and, most notably, of sporting, horses and racecourses, a theme which defined his career. At the outbreak of the First World War Munnings enlisted but was deemed unfit for service due to an earlier accident leaving him with sight in only one eye. He remained in Lamorna until 1918, when he travelled to France as an official war artist, attached to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade.

On his return to England following the war Munnings became a fellow of the Royal Academy. A vocal detractor of Modernism, he enjoyed a prolific and long career and received many prestigious accolades. He was President of the Royal Academy from 1944 until 1949 and was awarded a knighthood the year of being appointed. In 1947 he accepted a personal award from the Sovereign, when he became Knight of the Royal Victorian Order.

A major body of work is held by the Sir Alfred James Munnings Art Museum in Colchester with further works held by The Royal Academy, London, the National Portrait Gallery, London, Tate Britain, London, the Royal Collection, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh and other prestigious museums. His work is also held in private collections around the world.

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