Alfred Munnings’ Barnet Fair to sell

The Cotswold Auction Company is very pleased to offer a painting by the much-loved equestrian artist Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959), which has been in the same family collection since 1947, in their next specialist pictures sale to be held at the Cirencester Bankside Saleroom on October 17.

Entitled Barnet Fair, the small, but very evocative, oil on canvas shows a scene from the leading 19th-century horse fair, regularly held at Barnet in North London.

 Certain characters and indeed animals appear regularly in Munnings’ work, and this picture is no exception – it shows the grey pony which often features in his work, together with a donkey and a boy in cap and red scarf, identified as Jimmy Betts. 

The same three are the focus of The Last of the Fair (an oil on canvas showing a slightly different group from the same fair and which at present hangs in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, Lancashire).   

In this work the boy stands within the shafts of a cart, minding his charges at the end of the day, hands stuffed in his pockets against the damp chill. Tents and buildings are just visible in the background, but our interest is all on this group, which fills the canvas, and the grey pony is almost luminous in the earthy rural setting. 

The work is signed and dated 1903, measuring 10” x 14” (25.5cm x 36cm), and bears an estimate of £30,000 to £50,000. 

This lovely little painting will appeal both to Munnings collectors and to lovers of the countryside and the world of horses alike,” said auctioneer Lindsey Braune. “We are delighted to be handling the sale of a picture which has been tucked away in a collection for over 70 years, and expect that bidders will be very keen to see it.”