Suffolk: £35 Munnings work fetches £182k at Bonhams auction

The Fair by Alfred Munnings which has fetched £182,500 at auction - it was once sold for £35.

The Fair by Alfred Munnings which has fetched £182,500 at auction - it was once sold for £35. - Credit: Archant

Before he became rich and famous and when he was still plain Mr Munnings, Suffolk artist Sir Alfred Munnings sold one of his paintings for just £35.

However at a recent auction at London-based Bonhams that same work of art fetched an impressive £182,500. Munnings was in his 30s when he sold the 20in by 24in picture, titled The Fair, for £35 to a Scottish yarn merchant named Douglas Anderson.

A tell-tale label on the back of the picture says: “A.J.Munnings, Lamorna, Penzance, The Fair.”

Although the picture is not dated, it is known that Munnings lived and worked in Cornwall between 1911 and 1917 and that the painting was loaned by its original owner, Mr Anderson, for an exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1916.

In 1919, Mendham-born Munnings took what he described as the main decision of his life which was to buy Castle House at Dedham – “the house of my dreams” – where he lived and worked until his death in 1959.

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Munnings expert, Lorian Peralta-Ramos, said of the The Fair: “Munnings would have been familiar with horse fairs from an early age.

“The hustle and bustle, excitement and myriad colours proved to be a lasting inspiration as he returned to the theme numerous times.”

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Munnings was born in 1878 and attended Redenhall Grammar School and Framlingham College.

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