Changing Horses by Sir Alfred Munnings


Changing Horses


Sir Alfred Munnings

Ref GM2895
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 20" x 16" (50 x 40 cm)
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The elegant horsewoman standing between the grey and black, is Munnings's second wife. Munnings met Violet in the summer of 1919 at Richmond Horse Show, where he was captivated by the sight of her riding a magnificent horse. Their courtship developed after Violet agreed to sit for a portrait and the couple married in 1920 in a quiet ceremony at Chelsea Registry Office. Violet greatly encouraged Munnings’s artistic career and provided him with a stable home life, which left him free to paint. She took responsibility for the day-to-day business of managing commissions, which were often obtained from her society connections. She organised his schedule and few requests were turned down. Munnings was in the unusual position of receiving an allowance from his wife to whom he had granted power of attorney, such was his trust and freedom. In another version of this painting, housed in Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Violet wears a top hat rather than a bowler hat. Munnings was particularly outspoken in his admiration of ladies riding side-saddle: “I wish I had painted more women riding side-saddle before the fashion died out. A good figure in a well-cut habit is the essence of grace and symmetry.” This second version was painted whilst Munnings and Violet were guests of Major Tommy Bouch, Master of the Belvoir Hunt. Munnings said: “Staying with Major Bouch, Master of Belvoir, I had used two of his horses, a black and a grey, in a large picture called Changing Horses which was afterwards purchased for the Pittsburgh Art Gallery. My wife posed as the silk-hatted lady in the centre of the picture holding the horses… with Burgess, the Belvoir second horseman, tightening the girths.”