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Munnings & Romney Lead British, European & Sporting Art Sale

18th June 2024.

Sir Alfred Munnings is rightly celebrated as the master of equine art; his lifelong affinity with the horse is reflected in his insightful and vital equine portraits that capture the grace and power of the animals, and his “Lord Astor on Shooting Stick with Horses” will be sold in Tennants Auctioneers' British, European and Sporting Art Sale on 13th July with an estimate of £80,000-100,000 (all figures exclude buyer's premium).

The painting is a sketch for “A Summer Evening at Cliveden, Waldorf Astor, Second Viscount Astor (1879-1952), seated”, which is held in the Cliveden Estate Collection in Buckinghamshire, now managed by the National Trust. William Waldorf, 2nd Viscount Astor, was one of the greatest owner/breeders of his day, and greatly admired by Munnings. The pair felt a deep kinship, both being at their happiest surrounded by horses. In the present sketch, Astor and his trainer Mr William Guy inspect a parade of mares and foals being led past on a gloriously sunlit evening at Cliveden. From the same private collection is a watercolour by Munnings; “In the Woods Near Noyon 1918 Attack. Our Retreat” was executed whilst the artist was serving in the First World War with the Canadian Cavalry (estimate: £3,000-5,000).

An engaging portrait sketch by the renowned George Romney, which has been in the same family collection since it was painted, will also be offered with an estimate of £20,000-30,000 (plus buyer's premium). The sketch depicts Caesar Hawkins and is thought to have been executed in preparation for a full-length portrait of Caesar, his sister Louisa Anne, and their mother Emma Hawkins (née Adair), which was once in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The final painting was a long time in the planning, with numerous changes to the composition on route: according to Romney's meticulous studio records, Mrs Hawkins' first sitting was in 1776, with Caesar having two sittings in the Summer of the same year and younger sister Louisa Anne sitting in 1778. Caesar was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and was a Captain in the 8th Light Dragoons before his death in 1806.

Four works by one of the leading Victorian equestrian artists, Heywood Hardy are also on offer, hailing from two private collections. Hardy, who came from a family of artists, specialised in equestrian and hunting subjects, often in historical settings. Amongst the works on offer is Huntsman, Hounds and Members of the Field Before a Castle (estimate: £8,000-12,000), and Horse Mounted Figures and Others at a Country House Doorway (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

The Toy Boat by Dutch artist David Adolf Constant Artz is offered with an estimate of £5,000-8,000 and depicts a fisherman’s wife and children in sand dunes. Artz was a member of the Hague School of Artists and specialised in romanticised depictions of the everyday lives of fishermen and their families. Further notable works in the sale include Self Portrait on Iona by Frances Campbell Boileau Cadell, the Scottish Colourist painter who spent several summers painting on Iona (estimate: £7,000-9,000), and a “Grasmere”, a Lake District landscape painted in 1849 by James Baker Pyne (estimate: £3,000-5,000).


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