Sir Alfred James Munnings was born 8 October 1878 at Mendham, Suffolk. As a young boy, he was apprenticed to a Norwich printer, designing and drawing advertising posters for the next six years whilst attending the Norwich School of Art in his spare time. When his apprenticeship ended, he became a full-time painter. However, loss of sight in his right eye in 1898 did not deflect his determination to paint, and in 1899 two of his pictures were shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Munnings became best known for his equine painting and often depicted horses involving hunting and racing. His colourful scenes have retained public popularity despite changes in artistic fashion.Read more
Towards the end of World War I Munnings was employed as war artist to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. He painted many scenes, some of which are now in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
After the war Munnings built his reputation as a painter and was elected into the Royal Academy in 1925. Years later he was elected president of the Royal Academy of Art in 1944 and in the same year, was awarded a knighthood.
He died at Castle House, Dedham, Essex, on 17 July 1959. After his death, his wife turned their home in Dedham into a museum of his work.