Lord Astor's High Stakes by Sir Alfred Munnings


Lord Astor's High Stakes


Sir Alfred Munnings

Ref GM2905
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 20" x 16" (50 x 40 cm)
Price Add to basket
Munnings painted many pictures for Lord Astor and this commission is discussed in the artist's autobiography. "Lord Astor wrote asking me to do this last picture, and I said 'No.' At Epsom, his eldest son, Bill said, 'Do paint High Stakes for father. The horse can be sent to you.' I said 'No.' Then the son who rides racing wrote to me and my reply was 'No; I paint no horses for people.' One morning, working in the rubbing stable, I was aware that I must have a racehorse to paint. My brain-cells were in shape, make and anatomy of a horse were shelved, had grown dull. On the Heath the next morning I saw Lawson, who used to train Lord Astor's horses at Manton. Talking to him, High Stakes came into mind--a horse that had finished racing... He found the horse already at Newmarket... I toiled on some hard studies of High Stakes, as usual trying to do the impossible. He certainly was a horse--a personality... At the least sound the horse held his head and tail high in the air... The long lines, the subtle shape, the alert, live look of a high-couraged, well-bred horse were beyond me and as I worked I saw in the poise of his head, in his actions, the sire Hyperion that I had painted fifteen years ago." After World War II, Munnings painted wonderful starts of horse races, mostly at Newmarket where a rubbing house had been converted to a studio. Munnings writes, "But to my own profession and purpose--seeing visible beauty; the grouping, the movement--colour, all dependent on the lighting; the sky. Orange satin, cerise-and-white- blue-and-yellow, emerald green--a large field waiting, waiting, regrouping. At each start determined to retian the picture in my mind."