Description & Technical information

In At the Start, Newmarket, Munnings has captured a moment of calm as
the horses and jockeys wait in anticipation before the start of the
Cambridgeshire Stakes. This race, still happening today, is a handicap race
open to horses aged three years or older  and takes place each September at Newmarket.

The start of a race is a theme Munnings returned to time and time again, notably between 1940 and 1959 he exhibited a painting of such ‘Starts’ at every Royal Academy show. By the end of 1945,  his ‘Starts’ had become the principal focus of his art. The close proximity of Newmarket and his country house in Dedham allowed him to visit the races regularly throughout the year. During the racing season, Munnings would watch three or four races a day, becoming engrossed with such scenes and with racing as a whole. He even had a studio at the track in an old rubbing barn, courtesy of The Jockey Club. Photographs of Munnings in his studio from these years often show him with two or three distinctive ‘Starts’ and the supporting studies arranged around him.

Date:  1939
Period:  20th century
Origin:  British
Medium: Oil on canvas
Signature: Signed lower left 'A.J. Munnings' and inscribed and dated on reverse 'Study of horses/ for picture of start/ Newmarket June 1939'
Dimensions: 30.48 x 60.96 cm (12 x 24 inches)

Rayner MacConnal, London;

Private Collection, United Kingdom;

Private Collection, United Kingdom

Literature: Sir Alfred Munnings, The Finish, 1952, illustrated between pp.216-217.