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Painting by Sir Alfred Munnings originally sold for £35 could fetch £250,000 at auction this month

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

  • The Fair - back label

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A PAINTING by Sir Alfred Munnings he sold for just £35 is set to be auctioned this month and could fetch around £250,000.

For much of his life the famous artist lived and worked in Newlyn and Lamorna, and his piece entitled The Fair will be offered for sale at Bonhams in London on January 22.

Munnings (1878-1959) was a member of a bohemian artist colony that was in west Cornwall in the early 1900s, and he spent much of his time lodging at The Lamorna Wink, working in a nearby outbuilding.

Known for his love of horses, Munnings' equine oil painting is said to capture "the hustle and bustle of rural life". Arts specialist and a director at Bonhams, Peter Rees, said the work was "an excellent example of his ability to capture the drama and excitement of such events with great skill".

He added: "It's a subject the artist returns to many times."

The auctioneer said the painting was originally purchased directly from the artist before 1916 for £35 and had been passed down within the family for a century. A century later the work was being offered for sale with price estimates of £150,000 to £250,000.

Coming to Cornwall in 1908, in his time before the First World War the artist focused on idyllic rural landscapes, often west Cornwall. Two further studies are being offered at the sale, called Grey Mare And Chestnut Foal (£50,000 to £70,000) and Calling Them In (£40,000-£60,000).

Munnings' life in Lamorna and the surrounding area was brought back to life in a novel by Jonathan Smith called Summer In February, which was adapted to film and released last year.

It told the story of the wild artist group, most notably a tangled love triangle involving the artist, his first wife, Florence Carter Wood, and friend, Gilbert Evans – upon whose diaries the story is based.

A 1940 oil painting called In The Quiet Of Our Valley, which depicts a mill close to the village, by Munnings' friend and fellow artist, Samuel Lamorna Birch, is also for sale on the day and could go for around £8,000.

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