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Rediscovered Sir Alfred Munnings drawings to go on display in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 February 2018

Fourteen drawings by artist Sir Alfred Munnings from his time at the then Norwich School of Art have been rediscovered in the Norwich University of the Arts archives.
Photo: Andi Sapey

Fourteen drawings by artist Sir Alfred Munnings from his time at the then Norwich School of Art have been rediscovered in the Norwich University of the Arts archives. Photo: Andi Sapey

AllCopy Write-AndiSapey

Master artist Sir Alfred Munnings honed his craft at the then Norwich School of Art and now rediscovered drawings from his days as a student are to go on display as a fundraising campaign is launched to help preserve them for future generations.

Fourteen drawings by artist Sir Alfred Munnings from his time at the then Norwich School of Art have been rediscovered in the Norwich University of the Arts archives. Pictured is a sheet of studies of horse and cattle.
Photo: supplied by Norwich University of the Arts Fourteen drawings by artist Sir Alfred Munnings from his time at the then Norwich School of Art have been rediscovered in the Norwich University of the Arts archives. Pictured is a sheet of studies of horse and cattle. Photo: supplied by Norwich University of the Arts

The 14 pictures - found in the Norwich University of the Arts archives - are from the 1890s and highlight the artist’s emerging skills in mastering the drawing of human and animal forms.

They will be the focus of the exhibition Revealing Munnings: rediscovered drawings from the NUA archives which opens at East Gallery on Wednesday.

However, the drawings are also in urgent need of conservation, and the university is launching a public appeal to help raise £30,000 for the work that needs to be done.

Dr Caroline Fisher, curator at East Gallery, said: “We are excited to bring these early drawings by Alfred Munnings to light and to show them to the public for the first time. We hope that by doing this we will raise the funds to conserve them, and also show the enduring relevance of drawing from life for artists.”

Fourteen drawings by artist Sir Alfred Munnings from his time at the then Norwich School of Art have been rediscovered in the Norwich University of the Arts archives. Pictured is a drawing of a reclining male nude. 
Photo: supplied by Norwich University of the Arts Fourteen drawings by artist Sir Alfred Munnings from his time at the then Norwich School of Art have been rediscovered in the Norwich University of the Arts archives. Pictured is a drawing of a reclining male nude. Photo: supplied by Norwich University of the Arts

The conservation work will involve taking the drawings off their acidic mounts because, if left in place, they would gradually erode the drawings.

Each drawing will then be carefully cleaned, remounted and framed, ready for the works to be part of a major exhibition in 2019 to mark the 60th anniversary of the artist’s death.

Sir Alfred, who was born in 1878, is one of NUA’s most famous alumni, having studied at the then Norwich School of Art in the 1890s after moving to the city from Mendham, in Suffolk. He also worked as an apprentice for printers Page Brothers and a designer for chocolatier Caley’s of Norwich.

In 1899 - just a year after executing some of the drawings being shown at East Gallery this month - two of his paintings were shown in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. He developed his practice as a painter of portraits and horses and he served as a war artist in the First World War and as president of the Royal Academy of Arts from 1944 to 1949.

Fourteen drawings by artist Sir Alfred Munnings from his time at the then Norwich School of Art have been rediscovered in the Norwich University of the Arts archives. Pictured is a foal's head.
Photo: supplied by Norwich University of the Arts Fourteen drawings by artist Sir Alfred Munnings from his time at the then Norwich School of Art have been rediscovered in the Norwich University of the Arts archives. Pictured is a foal's head. Photo: supplied by Norwich University of the Arts

• The Revealing Munnings exhibition runs from February 7 to 17 at East Gallery, in St Andrews Street, Norwich. Opening hours are 12pm-5pm Tuesday to Saturday. Free entry.

For more about how you can support the conservation appeal, visit www.nua.ac.uk/munnings

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