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Painting by Lamorna artist Sir Alfred Munnings could fetch £250,000 at auction this month

By CMJoshBarrie  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

The Fair

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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.

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

Munnings (1878-1959) was part of a bohemian artist colony around in west Cornwall in the early 1900s. 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 it is "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 piece was originally purchased directly from the artist before 1916 for the sum of £35 and has been passed down within the family for generations. A century later the work is being offered with estimates of £150,000-£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-£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 tells 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, 'In the quiet of our valley', which depicts a mill close to the village and was created 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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