Details
SIR ALFRED JAMES MUNNINGS, R.A., R.W.S. (BRITISH, 1878-1959)
The Runaway - Newmarket incident
signed 'A.J. MUNNINGS.' (lower left), inscribed 'The Runaway . Newmarket incident/1950 Painted an hour/after seeing the lad runaway with/on the course/Here is passing the Bend of the Devils Ditch' (on the reverse) and further signed with initials, inscribed and numbered 'The Runaway/A J M 18/ 216' (on an exhibition label attached to the reverse)
oil on board
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm.)
Provenance
with E.J. Rousuck, Scott & Fowles, New York.
Fortune Peter Ryan, New York, and by descent until sold
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 28 November 1995, lot 188, where purchased for the present collection.
Exhibited
Bournemouth, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Restrospective Exhibition of Works by Sir Alfred Munnings, K.C.V.O., P.P.R.A., L.L.D., 2 April - 4 June 1955, no. 922, lent by the artist.
London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of works by Sir Alfred J. Munnings, K.C.V.O., P.P.R.A., 10 March - 30 June 1956, no. 216, lent by the artist.
Special notice
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Lot Essay

Newmarket, one of the oldest racecourses in England, was established in 1605 by King James I. It was considered by Munnings to be ‘the most beautiful course in the world’ and became the setting for some of his most dramatic sporting paintings. Munnings regularly drove over from his house in Dedham to watch the horses exercising on Newmarket Heath and to attend the races. He was given special permission by the clerk to position his car at the starting post and he kept his own horse box as a studio.

That studio was positioned close to the Devil's Ditch, where the 'incident' depicted in the painting took place. From this privileged position Munnings witnessed one of the horses bolting away from the start with the jockey trying his best to rein in the runaway. Inspired by the unusual incident, within the hour Munnings had captured the scene. In characteristic fashion he then reworked the image into a larger painting which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1954.

We are grateful to Lorian Peralta-Ramos, the Curatorial staff at The Munnings Museum and Tristram Lewis for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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