Sir Alfred Munnings portrait is set to fetch up to £250,000 at auction

A painting by one of Suffolk’s most celebrated artists is set to bring in up to £250,000 at auction this month.

Sketching at Wiston Bridge, by Sir Alfred Munnings, is a portrait of his friend and fellow artist, Maurice Codner, and is the star lot at Bonhams’ 19th century European, Victorian and Impressionist Sale in London on June 23.

It is expected to make between £150,000 and £250,000 at the event.

Sir Alfred was the son of Suffolk miller John Munnings and was born at Mill House, Mendham, on October 8, 1878.

The painting, which shows Codner painting outside at an easel, was painted near Nayland village on the River Stour.


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Sir Alfred refers to the location in his autobiography as one discovered by Codner one September.

“I took note of him sitting there at work, with the old bridge and willows in the background. Here was a picture,” said Sir Alfred in the autobiography.

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He went on to describe Codner as “the picture of misery-frustration and rage” when the reeds that he had been painting were cut back, and when a new military structure was built by the Wiston Bridge.

“For Codner this was the end of everything,” he said.

Specialist in 19th century paintings at Bonhams, Peter Rees, said: “This exuberant painting shows Munnings at his most informal, painting with great freedom and fluidity.

“His fondness for the sitter, and his familiarity with the landscape, is evident in this wonderful work.”

Wiston Bridge is located not far from Flatford Mill, which was the subject of many of John Constable’s most famous works.

Experts predict this as the reason for the painting previously being sold in 1971 under the title Maurice Codner Painting at Flatford Mill.

Other lots to go under the hammer in the sale include a portrait painted in Italy by Frederic, Lord Leighton, an oil painting by Danish artist Knud Erik Larsen, and a light-filled painting by Dorothea Sharp.

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